Central Carroll: Butterflies, bingo and annual corn roast highlight coming weekends

Central Carroll: Butterflies, bingo and annual corn roast highlight coming weekends
Gary Kross and his sister Joan Chandon eat corn on the cobb at the 2015 Old Fashioned Corn Roast Festival at the Union Mills Homestead. (Times file photo)

Bear Branch Nature Center is right in our own backyard with so many cool offerings. On Aug. 9, they will host its next Bear Cub Explorers program and this one will focus on Monarch Butterflies.

“We’ll start by meeting some monarch caterpillars that are currently being raised in the nature center,” said park naturalist, Nichole Bowman. “We’ll learn why these insects are so important and how we are helping them out. We will then head outside to try and find some monarchs to care for. We’ll search milkweed plants for eggs and caterpillars and use nets to try and catch the butterflies. If there is time, we’ll finish up with a craft that demonstrates the lifecycle of the monarch to help us remember what we learned.”


The Bear Cub program is held monthly, with a different nature-related theme at each session and activities planned for ages three to nine. There is usually an outdoor activity and a workshop style activity. Although extra kids and siblings can attend, all must register. The cost is $6 per child.

“Bear Cub Explorers is always great for kids because it teaches them to appreciate different aspects of nature while experiencing it first-hand,” Bowman said. “They get to share their experiences with other kids their age, making new friends along the way.”

The Aug. 9 program is just in time for butterfly season.

“Kids will enjoy our August Bear Cub Explorers because it will give them a better understanding of one of their favorite insects through hands on activities. Empowered with this knowledge, kids will have the ability to continue their exploration of monarchs on their own.”

Bear Branch Nature Center offers programs, birthday parties, volunteer opportunities and more. They are open five days a week with hands-on educational exhibits, live animals, a Discovery Room for kids with games and puzzles and even puppets for young children. There is an operating bee hive for observation, a planetarium and observatory, fire rings available to rent and so much more. What a great place for kids to learn about wildlife and nature and the role we play in the bigger picture!

Bear Branch Nature Center is located at 300 John Owings Road, Westminster. Visit the center Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Register for the Aug. 9 program by calling 410-386-2103 or visit to sign up.

Double Basket and Cash Bingo at Gamber Fire Hall

The South Carroll Lioness/ Lions Club will hold their13th Annual Double Basket and Cash Bingo at Gamber fire hall on Saturday, Aug. 25 and tickets are on sale now.

Sue Miller, the club’s Service Chairman, said they started holding regular basket bingos twice a year over 20 years ago, but 13 years ago, things changed

“Thirteen years ago, we tried the double and it worked out so well we went to doing that once a year instead, and we always hold it on the fourth Saturday in August,” she said.

Instead of one session of bingo, it is two sessions back to back. The cost of $45 per person includes a continental breakfast, a lunch and drinks all day plus 40 regular games of bingo. Those who attend may also purchase cards to play four jackpot games [specials], can buy tickets to two raffles for large Longaberger baskets filled with goodies, participate in King Tut games and — if they bring nonperishable food items to be donated to a food pantry — they will get tickets to yet another raffle for a Longaberger product.

“We give them one raffle ticket per item for up to five tickets,” Miller said.

The doors open at 9:30 a.m. and a continental breakfast will be waiting, with croissants, Danish, fruit cups, sweet rolls and juices. Then, bingo begins at 10:30 a.m. Around noon, there is a break for lunch, which includes two small sandwiches — chicken salad and ham and cheese — a bag of chips and fruit. Sodas, water and coffee are available free all day long.

“Prizes [for regular bingo] are a basket and then money, every other game,” Miller said. “All our baskets are filled, except for the King Tut one. We never fill those. There are four King Tuts – one for baskets and three for cash. And everyone gets a free bingo dauber, too.”


Miller said there are door prizes, as well. Those who want to come, should buy their tickets early. They set up for 200 people and most people buy their tickets in advance.

“We’ve been told it is the best bingos around and that we give the best baskets,” Miller said. “The food is good; the people are friendly and most of our players are repeaters. They just keep coming back.”

Miller said the club reserves the right to change the to a single session of bingo if less than 100 players sign up by Aug. 11, but that has never happened in the past.

“We have some people who come all the way form the Eastern Shore and from Virginia,” Miller said. “People really seem to like this bingo.”

We have very few walk-ins. Almost all the tickets are purchased in advance.

Gamber Fire hall is located at 3838 Niner Road in Gamber. For tickets or more information, call Terri Parkent at 443-280-0203 or Sue Miller – 410-795-0920

Old Fashioned Corn Roast

We had a wet spring, early warmth, and now the corn has come — sweet, juicy and ready to be consumed. For some of the best corn ever, visit the Union Mills Homestead on Saturday, Aug. 4, when the Homestead Foundation and the Silver Run-Union Mills Lions Club hold their 48th Annual Old-Fashioned Corn Roast Festival, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The ticket price of $14 per person includes a serving of fried chicken with applesauce, sliced tomatoes, a roll, and iced tea or lemonade, and all-you-can-eat corn on the cob. A child’s ticket for youth 12 and younger costs $6, with a child’s portion of chicken.

Jane Sewell, executive director at the Union Mills Homestead, said last year was one of their best years.

“We had a record crowd for our 47th annual corn roast and we roasted approximately 800 dozen ears of corn,” she said. “The weather was perfect, it wasn’t too hot, and it didn’t rain. It always depends on the weather.”

This rain-or-shine event offers music by the Fast Eddie and the Slow Pokes. Those who attend can watch the waterwheel on the old mill turn as grains are ground, check out blacksmithing and woodworking demonstrations, stroll among the craft vendors on site, purchase a snowball or soft serve ice cream for dessert, and enjoy a leisurely walk around the property along Big Pipe Creek. They may also tour the Homestead and gristmill for a small additional fee. The gift shop on the premises offers old-fashioned wares for sale as well as stone-ground flours from the mill.

“This is the 48th year for one of our most popular events in Union Mills with the most delicious corn,” Sewell said, encouraging all to attend. “It’s a wonderful outing in a beautiful venue here in Carroll County.”

The Homestead is located at 3311 Littlestown Pike (Md. 97) in Union Mills. For more information, call 410-848-2288. Learn more about the homestead at Find the Lions club at