Central Carroll: Libraries kicking off Summer Discovery program; Amateur Radio Field Day; farmers markets

Central Carroll: Libraries kicking off Summer Discovery program; Amateur Radio Field Day; farmers markets
Pete Hiltz, president of the Carroll County Amateur Radio Club, operates a radio alongside Jack Gerkin at last year's Amateur Radio Field Day. (Courtesy photo)

Kids of all ages are invited to the Carroll County Public Library on June 20 for its Summer Discovery program kickoff.

Each branch will have activities available for kids, who will also be invited to sign up for the library’s Summer Discovery program.


The Westminster branch will have games, crafts, and activities inside and out from 1 to 3 p.m. Children’s services supervisor Ghislaine Hockensmith said kids can play a giant version of Chutes and Ladders — called Rockets and Black Holes — inside the library.

“Kids are actually the game pieces who will be walking around on the game board. They might blast off on a rocket and skip spaces or go back spaces through a black hole,” she said. “Outside, we will be having a few more giant games like giant dominos, and we have crafts for all ages [including adults]. They can make take home items at different stations and we have a photo booth. We’ll also have an aqua-pod rocket that uses water to propel the rocket into the air. And we’ll be signing people up for summer discovery.”

About 300 people turned out for last year’s event.

“This is a great opportunity to celebrate the beginning of summer, to get started with summer discovery goals, and to have a great time together,” Hockensmith said.

The Summer Discovery program runs through Aug. 24 for kids of all ages.

“They can earn some cool prizes throughout the summer,” Hockensmith said. “They can choose to enter their reading per book title or by number of minutes and can also earn points by going stargazing or going to a museum or creating their own goals. Each book or 15 minutes of reading earns them 10 points. At 300 points they can select from some free new books [donated by Penguin Random House] and be entered into an additional drawing. We will be doing raffles every two weeks and they earn tickets by coming to the library.”

The Westminster branch library is at 50 E. Main St. For more information, call them at| 410-386-4490, or learn more and find other locations by visiting them online at

Amateur Radio Field Day

The Carroll County Amateur Radio Club will operate in the national Amateur Radio Field Day from noon on Saturday, June 22, to noon Sunday, June 23, at Bear Branch Nature Center.

A field day is when amateurs leave their home stations and practice emergency preparedness by setting up portable stations that run on batteries, generators or solar power, and try to contact as many other stations as possible.

“Amateur ham radio is an educational hobby that encourages learning, building, creativity, and via the medium of radio join a worldwide group of friendly people,” said Pete Hiltz, president of the Carroll County Amateur Radio Club. “Ham radio knows no boundaries, and everyone is the same, a ‘ham.’ ”

Amateur radio truly is a valued part of Carroll County's emergency preparedness. Recent emergencies, such as the response to Hurricane Maria's devastation of Puerto Rico, show where it comes into play.

During field day, Hiltz said, families will get the opportunity to see the hobby in action, talk to people who are far away, learn about some creative electronic projects and see what their local amateur club is doing.

“We will be operating the entire time using voice, Morse code, and modern digital schemes. Visitors are invited to stop by and learn about amateur ham radio and chat on the air.”

Hiltz said club members will demonstrate making satellite contacts and other technology, and will have a station set up for anyone who wants to try to make a few contacts. They will have a number of projects on display including work with Arduio microcontrollers, Raspberry Pis and other homemade equipment.


“Arduino microcontrollers and their ilk are small, low-power, typically single-purpose computers,” Hiltz said, like the computer inside any appliance. “For the Arduino-type devices, projects include a lamp that turns on when you come into its range [motion sensing], a temperature or humidity monitor in a plant nursery, a water sensor that monitors pipes for leaks, and may types of blinking lights and decorations. Raspberry Pis are full-fledged computers, similar to your desktop or notebook. You connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to it, and you have a medium-power computer. As with microcontrollers, the possibilities are endless, and they are both easy to use and program and inexpensive.”

Hiltz said they are hoping the Westminster Astronomical Society to be on hand as well, opening their observatory for solar observation in the day and planetary observation in the evening.

For more information regarding the field day, email or call 443-280-0385.

Summer farmers markets

On June 15, the Carroll County Farmers Market opened for its summer season inside the upper buildings at the Carroll County Agriculture Center. Every Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Sept. 7, you’ll find rooms full of unique gifts, fresh baked goods, locally grown produce, meats, eggs, juried handmade crafts and agricultural products available for purchase.

Billed as the oldest farmers market in Carroll County and the second-oldest in the state of Maryland, the market offers an opportunity for consumers to buy locally grown farm fresh products and juried handmade crafts from local vendors. Each market day has a theme, and the next one, June 22, is Quilt Day.

“On Saturday, June 22 the Carroll County Farmers Market will be holding its sixth annual Quilt Day,” market manager Heather Kuykendall said. “The farmers market’s own vendors will be displaying antique and new quilts at their booth throughout the market. Take a walk down memory lane and learn the history and story behind each quilt. Every quilt displayed has its own unique story.”

Kuykendall said Barbara Myers from Everybody’s Quilt Guild will also be on hand to raffle off a quilt, and she will be sharing quilting techniques as well. And the Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer gardening and insect questions.

The market offers breakfast and lunch in the dining hall, including desserts like slices of fresh baked pie.

For more information, call 410-848-7748 or email

Founded in July 1994, the Downtown Westminster Farmers’ Market opened on May 18, and will run through November 23.

“We have the longest continuous season of the Carroll County markets,” market representative Brooke Hagerty said. “This year we run 28 weeks, [from] May 18 to November 23.”

Located on the lot at 27 Railroad Ave. in Westminster, you’ll find a list of vendors offering local produce, beef, chicken, pork, dairy and prepared foods. Look for live music every weekend and recipes and sample foods from Terry Serio of the University of Maryland Extension on the first Saturday of each month. The recipes she cooks up will be made from products purchased from the market’s own vendors.

“We also offer a full lineup of hot breakfast and lunch, with hot and cold beverages also available,” Hagerty said.

The downtown market has partnered with Ting to offer free Wi-Fi, plus children’s activities, on the fourth Saturday of every month.


“We are enjoying a wonderful beginning to the market year and are looking forward to the rest of the season,” Hagerty said. “The weather has been perfect and is matched only by the enthusiasm of our vendors and guests. Be sure to visit our market every chance you get for the best of the best that Carroll County has to offer.”

Learn more about them online at Or, for more information, call contact Brooke at 410-903-3921 or Find them on Facebook at