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The 37th annual Christmas in the Valley Craft Show and Train Garden Exhibit opens Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company. Last year's train garden is pictured.
The 37th annual Christmas in the Valley Craft Show and Train Garden Exhibit opens Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company. Last year's train garden is pictured. (Courtesy photo)

Kick off the holiday season with shopping, trains and a visit with Santa at the 37th annual Christmas in the Valley Craft Show and Train Garden Exhibit on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company.

“It is hard to believe our 37th Christmas Bazaar is here,” said Kim Thomas, president of the fire company’s auxiliary. She’s been involved for 27 years.

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According to Thomas, an amazing array of handmade items will be offered for sale from Maryland and Pennsylvania vendors, including artwork, paintings, jewelry, hand-crafted needlework, floral arrangements, angels, woodwork, stained glass, painted clay, essential oils, salts, figurines, dog treats, dog toys, leashes, pillows, blankets, handmade cutting boards, beautifully crafted wooden bowls, ink pens, rugs, table runners and table cloths — and that’s just to name a few.

The auxiliary will also offer Rada products for sale, a fundraiser Thomas said they’ve had for many years.

“Rada has cutting utensils like paring knives, butcher knives, pizza cutters, peelers and that sort of thing,” she said. “This was one of the things we did to pay off the mortgage.”

The craft show is the official kickoff for the train garden, too. And then, after Thanksgiving, it will be open on Saturdays and Sundays with additional hours announced online at www.pleasantvalleyfire.org.

“The Lego Club will have their layout on display, too,” Thomas said. “They design and build a separate layout completely from Legos, even with little Lego people. It’s beautiful.”

Santa will arrive at the fire hall at 10 a.m. and stay until 2 p.m. Children may visit him in the fire company’s museum while parents learn about the fire company’s rich history. The museum includes historical memorabilia, antique helmets, photos and more dating back to when the fire company was incorporated on March 21, 1931.

“We put Santa in the museum this year so people can enjoy our history. There is so much to see, trophies from past parades, a ladder from the old fire hall, and even the bucket they burned the mortgage in,” Thomas said.

While shopping and visiting with friends, you might want to stop for lunch, with homemade soups, chicken salad sandwiches, barbecue, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and a large assortment of delicious baked goods available for purchase.

The auxiliary has been busy preparing homemade pies and candy, apple dumplings, buckeyes, fudge, whoopie pies and a large selection of cookies for the bake table. In addition, find their popular holiday cheese balls, but come early, because last year they sold out.

"People love our cheese balls,” Thomas said. “You can freeze them and they keep for up to six months.”

The auxiliary also offers their Yearly Lottery Calendar for sale, with the winning number based on the Midday Pick 3 Maryland Lottery.

“The calendar costs $30 and runs from January through December 31, 2020,” Thomas said. “On every date, the calendar has a number on it. If that number hits [in the Maryland Lottery Midday Pick 3] it pays $40. But there are other amounts on special days, too. On September 11, $343 is paid because that is how many [firemen] died that day. Our events are in the calendar and we have special amounts for those event dates, too, and the week of Christmas — that’s the five days before Christmas.”

Calendars are available for sale every Wednesday evening from 6 to 6:45 p.m., or to have a calendar mailed out, call Debbie at 410-925-0840.

“Please come,” Thomas said. “Get in the spirit, listen to the wonderful music, chat with friends you don’t usually get to see, enjoy a good lunch and do some of your holiday shopping. Take care of all those things at one time!”

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The fire company is located at 2030 South Pleasant Valley Road in Westminster. For more information contact Thomas at 410-596-1830.

A VIP Gala for You

Here’s an opportunity to give back to our veterans. After all, without their service we would not be the nation we are today.

Help them by attending the Red, White & Blue Gala hosted by the Carroll County Veterans Independence Project (CCVIP) on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Westminster Riding Club, at 366 North Colonial Ave.

According to Gala chair Ann Thomas, those who attend will find lots of appetizers, a carving station, a pasta station, salad stations and numerous desserts, all donated by Carroll County bakeries, plus an open bar.

“There will be a silent auction and raffles, and we will also have a balloon raffle and our handmade ornament sale,” Thomas said.

Tickets cost $90 per person or $150 per couple. Cash, credit cards and checks are accepted. Mail checks to Carroll County Veterans Independence Project, 709 Lower Field Circle, Westminster, MD 21158. They should be written to “The Veterans Independence Project.”

“Join us in driving forward in continuing our mission to establish a Veterans Services Center to enhance services for veterans & family members,” said Ed Cramer, vice president of the nonprofit CCVIP. “While disappointed our joint application with Carroll County government to repurpose the former U.S. Army Reserve Center on Malcolm Drive in Westminster was disallowed, we are resolved as veterans to accomplish the mission.”

Thomas reflected the same thoughts.

“We are hoping folks come out to not only enjoy their evening but also to support The Veterans Independence Project and the goal of giving our county veterans one place — a central location — where they can access all the services the county has available and that the center offers,” she said. “We want to give our county veterans and their families a hand up in their journey back to civilian life [and] to support them in whatever way they need.”

They’ve served our nation with honor, and now some need assistance in transitioning back to civilian life. The Carroll County Veterans Services Center will provide training, mentoring, shelter, socialization, resources and advocacy. Help them get off the ground.

For more information about tickets or sponsorship information call Thomas at 410-596-2890 or visit them online at www.CarrollCountyvip.org/gala

Masterworks Chorale of Carroll County

Masterworks Chorale of Carroll County will present A Choral Harvest, featuring works by Aaron Copland, J.S. Bach, & Johann Pachelbel, on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 3 p.m. in Baker Memorial Chapel at McDaniel College in Westminster.

Join them for the first concert with their new conductor and artistic director, Michael Holmes. Admission is $12 adults or $10 in advance. Children and students with a school ID are admitted free at the door

Tickets are available online at www.masterworksofcc.org and Ticketleap, from members of Masterworks Chorale, at the Carroll County Arts Council, or at the door.

Lois Szymanski covers Finksburg, Gamber, Pleasant Valley, Reese, Sandymount, Silver Run, Smallwood, Union Mills and Westminster. Reach her at 443-293-7811 or LoisSzymanski@hotmail.com.

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