Community party to be held to encourage sobriety

On Sept. 10, Carroll County high school and college students ages 14 and older are invited to celebrate the school year and party sober with food, carnival games, cornhole games, a raffle with lots of prizes, spin art, a water challenge booth, entertainment and more — all free.

Join in the fun from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Carroll Community College, outside by the amphitheater grounds.


"This is a good way to start the school year," said Carol Mullen, substance abuse prevention coordinator for the Bureau of Preventions, Wellness and Recovery at the Carroll County Health Department. "After summer you are starting new. What a great way to kick-start the school year with fun and healthy activities that will hopefully carry on for the whole school year."

Mullen said this is the first time this event has been held.

"Some youth attend the Carroll County Coalition Against Underage Drinking [program]," Mullen said. "At a meeting one of the youth members suggested the sober picnic for kids. So in May we met with the campus activity board at Carroll Community College to see if they were interested in partnering with us."

According to Mullen, the Tobacco Use Prevention Program at the Health Department was quick to join forces with them and committee meetings began to take place. Westminster City Police joined in, along with Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County and the Carroll County Sheriff's Office.

"Kids suggested games, spin art and a dunking booth and then food and entertainment. It just grew," Mullen said.

"We wanted to do this to encourage kids to party sober and really be mindful of what their free time is going to look like and to be wary of drugs and alcohol and want the consequences can be," Mullen said. "But we knew we didn't want speeches or presentations. Instead, five different booths will be set up for substance abuse prevention and they are set up in between carnival games, offering information. Kids can talk about any questions about substance abuse prevention they have."

Mullen said some games will have prizes and some will have giveaways, but some are just for fun.

"We have some cornhole boards set up for fun and a spin art booth where kids can pour paints on spinning paper to create art," Mullen said. "And the [Carroll] Community College Campus Safety Office has impaired vision goggles, so kids can see what it is like to be impaired. The Sheriff's Office also has a Wheel of Misfortune. Students spin the wheel and they get questioned on the category it lands on. They also have a football toss where [players] throw a football through rubber tires."

Mullen said there will also be a selfie booth with lots of props where kids can dress up and take selfie photos with their own cell phones or cameras.

"We are encouraging students [at the selfie booth] to use the hashtag 'Be a True friend' to show how they can prevent substance abuse," Mullen said.

They'll also have what Mullen calls a modern day dunking booth.

Sheriff Jim DeWees from the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, Sgt. Keith Benfer from the Westminster City Police, Sgt. Adam Reid from McDaniel College's Campus Safety Office and Carroll Community College teacher Heather Diehl have signed on as tank volunteers, as well as Carroll County Health Department peer counselor Dale Baker — but no one will go into the tank.

"The person sits in a clear box but the water is on top, so the water will fall on top [of them] instead of them falling into a tank of water," Mullen said of the dunking booth.

Mullen said the free raffle includes lots of "wonderful prizes."


"Every student who comes gets a bingo card with images of the games and substance abuse items [that will be set up]," she said. "When they go to a substance abuse table and participate they get the card game stamped, and every game gets a stamp. When the card is filled they are eligible for a raffle."

Some of the raffle prizes include a bag full of sports equipment and a $25 gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods donated by the Carroll County States Attorney's Office, two gift cards for bread for a year donated by Panera Bread, three $10 gift cards to Buffalo Wild Wings donated by the restaurant, and much more.

Mullen said an improvisational group called Turtle Soup from Francis Scott Key High School, singer Bryan Burrows from the community college, and music played throughout the day will keep the entertainment rolling.

"It's going to be a great day of fun with no cost for anything," Mullen said. "We have some volunteers coming from Silver Oak Academy, but we are still looking for some volunteers willing to help out during the party."

Carroll Community College is at 1601 Washington Road, Westminster. In case of rain the event will be moved indoors to the Great Hall.

For more information, call 410-876-4802 or email

Church to hold old-fashioned dinners

Patapsco United Methodist Church has offered old-fashioned afternoon "dinners" for many years and they have become very popular. They are now held every fall and are open to the public.

"We started out serving the railroad workers in the 1930s," said Lydia Korman, who coordinates the dinners. "I am the head cook, too. Most of our church women bring desserts so we always have plenty [of] good homemade desserts."

This year the church will hold dinners from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 12, Oct. 3 and Nov. 7.

For their September and November dinners, the menu will feature roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, coleslaw, beets, homemade desserts, and drinks.

For the October dinner, the menu will feature a turkey dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sauerkraut and green beans. Also look for homemade desserts and drinks, all included in the cost.

Dinners cost $11 for adults, $6 for kids ages 6 to 11, and are free to children younger than 6. Carryout dinners cost $12.

Homemade soups can be purchased to carry out for $6 a quart, and homemade sweet pickles can be purchased for $7 a quart or $3.50 for a pint.

Patapsco United Methodist Church is at 2821 Patapsco Road in Patapsco — in the Finksburg zip code area — and the dinners are held in the social hall. No reservations are required to attend.

"The food is homemade and it is delicious," Korman said. "People say our roast beef is the tenderest they've ever had. We have such wonderful fellowship down there. Everybody sits and chats and enjoys it and we do appreciate everyone who comes. It is a lot of hard work but this is how we raise money to support the church."

For more info, call 410-259-0987 or on the day of the dinner, call the church hall 410-857-9210.

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