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Old Town: Celebration begins for Laurel’s 150th anniversary

This weekend provides the first opportunity to view the Laurel Historical Society’s exhibit in celebration of the city’s 150th anniversary. Unpacking Laurel’s Past: 150 Years on Display opens on Sunday, Feb. 2, at the Laurel Museum, 817 Main St. The exhibit features some of the best, and many never-before-seen, items in the museum’s collection.

This year marks 150 years since the city of Laurel’s incorporation and multiple celebratory activities are planned throughout 2020. A key feature of the celebrations is the Anniversary Passport that residents can have “stamped” at various locations and events during the year. The opening of Unpacking Laurel’s Past is the first passport event of the year, and the museum is the only passport site where visitors can have their passports stamped throughout the year.

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The new exhibit is divided into 11 sections that each tell a different part of Laurel’s story. The sections include Laurel before incorporation, city and community, entertainment, transportation, education, faith, home, and previous celebrations for the 100th and 125th anniversaries. Among the items on display are everything from an 1845 ledger from Patuxent Manufacturing Co. to a 1972 LIFE Magazine covering the assassination attempt on presidential candidate George Wallace that is signed by Wallace himself.

“Together, these objects tell stories of who we were and who we are,” said LHS Executive Director Ann Bennett. "They remind us that we all — residents and visitors alike — continue to play a part in the evolving story of Laurel.”

The Unpacking Laurel’s Past exhibit will run from Feb. 2 through Dec. 20 and admission is free. The museum is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, go to laurelhistoricalsociety.org or call 301-725-7975. Additional information on the city’s 150th anniversary celebrations can be found at 150.cityoflaurel.org.

St. Vincent Pallotti High School last week celebrated St. Vincent Pallotti Week, a tradition in honor of the Jan. 22 feast day of the school’s patron. Among the festivities were an Italian feast held during lunch periods, a schoolwide Mass and attendance at the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

The school also held an assembly at which students who attended a recent service trip to Belize shared their experiences. The trip was in conjunction with Cross Catholic Outreach to volunteer at a Pallottine Missionary Sisters school in Punta Gorda. Vincent Pallotti was a 19th-century Italian saint dedicated to education. The high school is operated by members of the Pallottine order, which he founded.

Though the holidays are behind us, much of winter is still ahead and the need for basic necessities in our community is still present. Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services welcomes donations of nonperishable food items for its food pantry. Items that are especially helpful are jelly, canned fruit, applesauce, granola bars, crackers and shelf-stable milk. Donations are accepted at LARS, 311 Laurel Ave., on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., or Monday evenings from 5 to 7:30 p.m. For more information on how you can help, call 301-776-0442.

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