In Sykesville, fun moves outdoors in May [Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock]

Although the spring season may seem shorter this year because of its late arrival, outdoor activities are here already; this month marks the beginning of three annual open-air events in Sykesville.

One event is a free concert series, Sykesville First Fridays, which, as the name indicates, takes place the first Friday of each month, May through September. The band Soulflower will lead off on May 3, 7 to 9 p.m., in the town gazebo. Local shops will remain open until 10, with wine and refreshments available.


Next, the Sykesville Fine Art & Wine Festival will return on Sunday, May 4, noon to 5 p.m. Visitors can spend the afternoon strolling down historic Main Street while listening to live music, viewing the work of local artisans, and sampling the wares of local wineries and restaurateurs.

For those 21 and older who wish to participate in the wine tasting, tickets cost $10 per person. Go to http://www.sykesvillemainstreet.com for online purchasing information.

Parking for the festival is free at South Branch Park on West Friendship Road, a quarter mile from Route 32.

Of course, Sykesville Cinema will also return in May, with family-friendly movies showing in Millard Cooper Park the second Saturday of each month, now through August. The event will begin on May 10, 8:30-10:20 p.m., with "How to Train Your Dragon."

Snacks are available for purchase onsite, but guests must bring their own chairs. In case of inclement weather, call the Sykesville Cinema Hotline at 443-300-8724. Millard Cooper Park is on Cooper Drive, in Sykesville.

Ready for another annual favorite? On Saturday, May 10, St. James United Methodist Church will host its Spring Fling fundraiser from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 12470 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), in Marriottsville. The event features a flea market, a plant sale and a bake sale, as well as hot breakfast and lunch items. All proceeds will benefit the St. James Camp Hope mission team and the United Methodist Women. Call the church at 410-442-2020 with any questions.

Treat mom to a special activity in honor of Mother's Day — Tea, Scones and Gardens at the Howard County Conservancy on Saturday, May 10, at 10 a.m. Rather than sitting for an extended period of time, as with a typical tea, guests are invited to stroll through the property's many plantings, including the community garden, the Master Gardener's demonstration garden, the "Sister's Garden" of perennials and herbs, and a variety of niche gardens maintained by members of the Howard County Garden Clubs. Tea and Scottish scones will be served in the historic farmhouse parlor.

Admission costs $5 per person or $10 per family. Register online at http://www.hcconservancy.org. In case of inclement weather, check the website. The address is 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99) in Woodstock, and the phone number is 410-465-8877.