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There's no better time to crack open your brand new 2017 calendars and get ready for the year that's coming than New Year's Day. To help you plan your time off and think about the year ahead, The Times has looked ahead at the upcoming year to gather some of the most popular events, notable anniversaries and worthwhile activities of the next 12 months.

January

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Carroll County celebrates its 180th anniversary, Thursday, Jan. 19. The county was formed out of portions of Baltimore and Frederick counties by a constitutional amendment. The county was named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who was the longest-surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, though he died prior to the forming of the county. The Historical Society of Carroll County is hosting a celebration at Grace Hall, Grace Lutheran Church, 21 Carroll St., Westminster from 2 to 4 p.m. January 21. The event will feature free admission and refreshments.

February

Sykesville's IceFest returns for a second year of frosty fun on Saturday, Feb. 4. This year, it will feature ice sculptures, a skating rink, an ice playground and a visit by a penguin from the Baltimore Zoo Mobile all within walking distance of Sykesville's Main Street district.

Clare Atkinson, 7, left, and Molly Atkinson, 3 check out a chicken ice sculpture sponsored by Local Homestead Products at Sykesville IceFest Saturday, Feb. 6.
Clare Atkinson, 7, left, and Molly Atkinson, 3 check out a chicken ice sculpture sponsored by Local Homestead Products at Sykesville IceFest Saturday, Feb. 6. (DAVE MUNCH/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

March

The annual Penguin Random House Book Fair is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with another celebration of reading, writing and literacy. The event, held at Carroll Community College March 3 and 4, brings together discounted books, local and national authors and children's activities for an entire day dedicated to books of every genre.

Children's books author Judy Schachner, best known for her Skippyjon Jones series, signs copies of her books during the annual Penguin Random House Book Fair at Carroll Community College on Saturday, March 5, 2016. The day included discounts on new book sales, book talks and signings, children's story time and a silent auction.
Children's books author Judy Schachner, best known for her Skippyjon Jones series, signs copies of her books during the annual Penguin Random House Book Fair at Carroll Community College on Saturday, March 5, 2016. The day included discounts on new book sales, book talks and signings, children's story time and a silent auction. (Alan White / Carroll County Times)

April

Start stocking up on your marshmallows now, because the Carroll County Arts Council's annual PEEPshow is fast approaching. It opens April 7 at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster. The council's largest fundraiser, the PEEPshow brings together hundreds of sculptures made up of thousands of Peeps marshmallows. Sculptures range in size from tabletop dioramas to 9-foot-tall statues.

The PEEPSMOBILE is parked out front during a visit to the Carroll County Arts Council's ninth annual PEEPshow in Westminster Monday, March 28, 2016.
The PEEPSMOBILE is parked out front during a visit to the Carroll County Arts Council's ninth annual PEEPshow in Westminster Monday, March 28, 2016. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

May

Fire carnival season kicks off in Carroll as the Gamber volunteer fire company opens up the first summer carnival of the year, running from Saturday, May 27 to Saturday, June 3. The carnival features eight nights of rides, food and games. In addition to the daily entertainment, they will host a free fireworks show on Memorial Day, May 29.

Amusement ride safety inspector Garreth Carey checks rides at the Gamber and Community Fire Company carnival grounds Friday, May 27.
Amusement ride safety inspector Garreth Carey checks rides at the Gamber and Community Fire Company carnival grounds Friday, May 27. (DAVE MUNCH/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

June

Travel back in time with the traditional arts as Common Ground on the Hill's tradition week series returns June 25 and lasts through July 7. Each year, the McDaniel campus is transformed into a place to learn about traditional arts of the world, as teachers come from all over to impart lessons in arts, music, survival and more. The first week concludes with a massive daylong concert featuring world-famous performers.

Members of the audience join a folk dance on stage as the Vanavers & Friends present Middle East - Balkan Music and Dance during the Common Ground on the Hill Roots Music and Arts Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Saturday, July 9, 2016.
Members of the audience join a folk dance on stage as the Vanavers & Friends present Middle East - Balkan Music and Dance during the Common Ground on the Hill Roots Music and Arts Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Saturday, July 9, 2016. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

July

The 4-H and FFA Fair gets an early start this year, kicking off in late July. A Carroll County staple — or is that stable? — for 118 years, the 4-H Fair is the place to be to support young farmers, see the best livestock around or even catch a match of the famous racing pigs. Each day of the fair shows off something new, from the tractor pull and demolition derby to the popular concert typically featuring an up-and-coming country music star.

Ricky Phipps, Boo Dove and Chris Laughman drive horses Barny and Kevin, weighing in at over 3200 pounds, in the Horse Pull at the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair in Westminster Friday, August 5, 2016.
Ricky Phipps, Boo Dove and Chris Laughman drive horses Barny and Kevin, weighing in at over 3200 pounds, in the Horse Pull at the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair in Westminster Friday, August 5, 2016. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

August

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Maybe the Carroll County 4-H Fair isn't big enough for you. Then hopefully you're satisfied by the Maryland State Fair, which runs from Aug. 24 through Sept. 4. Ride the rides, see the animals, listen to the music and buy a corndog at the Maryland State Fairgrounds during this two-week-long affair.

September

Finally, let your kids sleep in for the start of September because for the first time in many years the first day of school has been moved back past Labor Day. In August, Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order pushing the start date of Maryland public schools past Labor Day. Take one last trip to the beach, or play one last round of Dungeons and Dragons, while you can.

October

Celebrate the best of German culture at the Rotary of Carroll County's annual Oktoberfest Friday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Shipley Arena of the Ag Center. The event features authentic German food and beer, live traditional entertainment, beer stein contests, barrel rolling competitions and more.

From left, Barbara and Joel McCrea, Joyce Day, Bill Keilholtz, Marilyn Leung, Marty McCullen and Bill Sansalone of "Bairisch und Steierisch," a Bavarian and Austrian dance company, perform traditional dances during Rotary Oktoberfest at the Carroll County Agriculture Center in Westminster Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016.
From left, Barbara and Joel McCrea, Joyce Day, Bill Keilholtz, Marilyn Leung, Marty McCullen and Bill Sansalone of "Bairisch und Steierisch," a Bavarian and Austrian dance company, perform traditional dances during Rotary Oktoberfest at the Carroll County Agriculture Center in Westminster Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

November

Hopefully two days after Thanksgiving isn't too early to start celebrating the holiday season, because Westminster gets started just as soon as the turkey settles with the annual Miracle on Main Street holiday celebration. The event features the annual electric light parade as well as celebrations throughout Main Street. This year the season starts Nov. 25.

December

There's no better way to kick off your 2017 than to think about what you're going to be doing at the start of 2018. Why not head down to the BWI Hilton for Caring Community's annual New Year's Eve party, the Charm City Countdown. Ring in the new year with a giant party while supporting the Eldersburg-based nonprofit.

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