It's here! Midnight Madness in the historic district starts Dec. 4, with the traditional tree lighting at 6 p.m. in front of the Welcome Center, 8267 Main St. After the lights go on, the rest of the street is ready to welcome you as well.
There will be strolling carolers you can sing along with, the always favorite visit with Santa, and the wonderfully decorated shop windows, part of the annual holiday window decorating contest. Come early and stay late, as most shops will indeed be open until midnight.
The event is great fun, suitable for the whole family. Tea on the Tiber will be featuring "Midnight Merriment" that night, with a special multi-course high tea at 7 p.m. The cost is $60. Reserve by calling 410-480-8000.
Yes, the Enchanted Forest is coming to Main Street. This past summer, as part of the 60th birthday party for the iconic park, a variety of artists participated in a plein air event at Clark's Elioak Farm, the new home of many of the Park's best attractions. Many of these pieces capture the heart and spirit of the Park, and now will be on display at the Welcome Center on Main Street from Dec. 4 to Jan. 31. Don't miss it.
The Vintage Vault is the latest occupant of the old bank building at 8137 Main St. It is offering a special sale on gift certificates during the holidays, with cards valued at $50 or more going for a 10 percent discount. Call them at 410-480-8400 for more information.
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Across the street, HorseSpirit Arts Gallery has taken over the old Margaret Smith Gallery space at 8090. It is featuring the works of Allen Alexopulos, a master wood turner who works with trees indigenous to the central Maryland area, as well as 41 other local artists.
Ellicott's Country Store is branching out to showcase gifts inspired by the Downton Abbey series. Shoemaker Country is the place to go to have your furniture custom-made. They work wonders with wood. Tom Shoemaker also paints these really neat signs with whatever message you want. I have one that says, what else, "Mostly Main Street," which makes me smile every time I enter my office.
Sweet Cascades carries Old Bay seasoned chocolate crabs that would make great stocking stuffers, especially for out-of-towners nostalgic for the taste of Maryland.
The Howard County Historical Society has a treasure trove of Maryland-themed gifts, and members get a 10 percent discount. Using the state flag design, they have a tie, a travel coffee mug, a lanyard and a Christmas ornament, among other things. They even have a Maryland flag crab pin, touching all bases. And don't forget their local cookbook, "Let's Dish."
Lunch and Jazz dates
The next Lunch Date with History will be on Dec. 4 at the Howard County Historical Society Museum on Court Avenue. This month's presentation is "Using Naturals to Make Old Fashioned Décor" by Ray and Pat Greenwald. Bring your lunch, drinks and snacks will be provided. The cost is $5, free for Society members.
I hope that everyone who wanted to go on the Holiday House Tour has bought tickets because the event is now sold out. The last concert for the season at the Historical Society's Museum is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19, at 6 p.m. It features the Columbia Jazz Band. The cost is $5 for Society members, $10 for general admission. Feel free to BYOB. Call 410-480-3250 or contact them at email@example.com.