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Free outdoor concerts galore lined up through August [Ellicott City]

Looking for a free summer activity? Try one of Ellicott City's free outdoor summer concert series — Sunset Serenades, Dorsey's Search Village Center, Traveling Bands and the new Turf Valley Towne Square.

The Sunset Serenades concerts showcase a variety of musical acts every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. through Aug. 13 at Centennial Park South, at 1000 Route 108.

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Bring a blanket or lawn chair and picnic dinner to enjoy the sounds of summer. Or, listen to the concert from a canoe or paddleboat, available for rent (cash only). Snacks, drinks and ice cream are available for sale at the concession stand and from an Eddy's ice cream truck.

There are two more Sunset Serenades performances in July —  the U.S. Naval Academy: Electric Brigade on July 23 and Ocho de Basto (Latin Rock) on July 30. Concerts are free, but a parking donation of $3 per car is requested.

The Traveling Bands outdoor concerts are held on various dates and locations in Howard County. The next concert in Ellicott City is 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 1, at the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park featuring the folk pop group Naked Blue. The park is at 3655 Church Road.

For a full listing of concerts, go to howardcountymd.gov and search "summer concerts". In case of inclement weather or extreme heat, call 410-313-4451 after 4 p.m. on the day of the performance for a recorded announcement about cancellations.

On Thursdays, from 6 to 8 p.m. through August, the Dorsey's Search Village Center offers free concerts and children's shows in its beautifully landscaped courtyard.

A limited number of tables and chairs are available or take your own lawn chairs. For dinner, bring your own or purchase food at the following Village Center stores: Trattoria Amore, Hunan Legend, Yama Sushi, Subway, Whirlz Yogurt Bar, Honeybaked Ham, Giant Foods and Casey's Coffee.

The two remaining July concerts are on July 24 (blues group Patty Reese Duo) and on July 31 (summer covers and originals with Ellis Woodward Duo). For a list of August concerts and for inclement weather information (cancellations will be made by 4 p.m. the day of performance), go to http://www.columbiavillagecenters.com and click "Dorsey's Search" link, then click the "Current Events" link. The center is located on Dorsey Hall Drive off Route 108, just west of Route 29.

Also on Thursdays nights, Turf Valley Towne Square will feature an outdoor concert series starting at 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Bring a chair and dinner or purchase food and beverages from a variety of stores including Mimi's Kabob, Red Parrot Asian Bistro, Subway, Grille 620, Facci, Xitomate, Yolavie Frozen yogurt and Harris Teeter grocery store.

The next concerts are July 24 (Hectic Red) and July 31 (Baltimore Rockabilly). The 108,000-square-foot Towne Square is located off of Marriottsville Road near the Turf Valley Resort.

Congratulations to David Gertler. The Ellicott City resident is the recipient of the 2014 William Donald Shaefer Award for community service in Howard County. Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot presented the award to Gertler in a ceremony held at Centennial High School.  Among the invited guests were Gertler's wife Stefanie and son Harrison, CHS principal Claire Hafets, State Sen. Allan Kittleman, former Columbia Association board member Tom Coale, Register of Wills Byron MacFarlane and numerous friends and colleagues.

Coale, who nominated Gertler for the award, spoke about STEMulatingMinds, the committee he founded to inspire kids to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related careers through a series of free STEM community programs. Franchot mentioned the success of the committee's HoCo STEM Festivals and HoCo Math Festival that have reached over 1,600 participants.

For more information about STEMulatingMinds and upcoming festival dates, go to http://www.stemulatingminds.weebly.com.

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