North Pole celebrity coming to Pleasant Valley

Looking for an opportunity to take photos of your children with the North Pole's most famous resident?

Santa will visit the Pleasant Valley fire company train garden on Sunday, Dec. 21.


"Promptly at 12:30 he will come into the parking lot on top of the firetruck," said Mike Wantz, fire company member.

Santa will remain at the fire company until 4 p.m.


"Parents are more than welcome to take photos with Santa, in the firetrucks and at the train garden," Wantz said. "We will be selling hot dogs and chips and drinks, but to see the train garden or visit Santa is free."

Wantz said the fire company only opens the train garden for visits during the holiday season, but they keep it up, adding new things throughout the year. "We've added more lighting effects to the garden this year and we have added a nice community park with a man flying a little string-line airplane around and it really moves," he said.

"Families can get up close to the trains. Little boys and girls always beg parents for a train under the Christmas tree," Wantz said. "So it is neat to see a big display. It used to be a big tradition that fire departments in the Baltimore area had train displays for the holidays, but not many do it anymore."

The Pleasant Valley train garden will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, and Sunday, Dec. 21. It will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve. On the day after Christmas, Friday, Dec. 26, the train garden will be open from 4 to 8 p.m.

On Dec. 27 and 28, the train garden will be open from noon to 6 p.m. On Dec. 29 and 30, it will be open from 4 to 8 p.m.

Look for the train garden to be open a few dates early in the new year, too: on Jan. 3 and 4, it will be open from noon to 4 p.m.

The fire company is at 2030 S. Pleasant Valley Road, Pleasant Valley.

For more details, call the station at 410-848-1977 or visit http://www.pleasantvalleyfire.org.

Christmas Bingo

At its Christmas Bingo on Tuesday, Dec. 23, the Gamber fire company will give away five hams, five turkeys and 25 homemade pumpkin pies as well as five $20 gift certificates to play bingo at Gamber on another date. Santa will also visit and there will be other great Christmas gifts.

Admission to bingo costs $1 and includes a package of cards for each game. Additional cards for players who want more games cost extra and early bird games are $2.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and bingo starts at 7 p.m.


Food and beverages will be for sale. "We offer different menus each week, with a variety of foods and desserts for sale," said Clay Myers, treasurer of the fire company and one of its public information officers. Look for snacks, chips, candy bars and beverages too.

Myers said bingo is played all 20 ways. Regular games pay $50, with specials paying $75. They have a Winner-Take-All game and a Quickie game.

"Our jackpot game is a progressive game with the pot growing each week that it is not won," Myers said. "If it is won on a specific number it will pay $1,000; otherwise, we pay $500."

The fire company is at 3838 Niner Road, Gamber.

For more information, call 410-552-5251.

Sounds of bluegrass

Zion United Methodist Church of Shipley will continue its First Saturday Night Bluegrass series with the Salem Bottom Boys entertaining on Saturday, Jan. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the church.

There is no charge for admission, but a freewill offering will be taken for the band. Refreshments will be available to purchase throughout the evening.

The church is at 2716 Old Washington Road, south of Westminster.

Call 410-795-3585 for additional information.

Lois Szymanski covers Finksburg, Gamber, Pleasant Valley, Reese, Sandymount, Silver Run, Smallwood, Union Mills and Westminster. To contact her, call 410-346-7321 or email loisszymanski@hotmail.com.

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