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Maryland's 359, and the party starts on St. Clement's


Thursday is Maryland's birthday. On this date in 1634, Maryland's first settlers held a Mass of Thanksgiving at the site of their landing on St. Clement's Island. Thus, March 25 became the official state holiday.

St. Clement's Island-Potomac River Museum at Colton's Point is one site that will hold Maryland Day ceremonies. Festivities begin with a flag-raising ceremony at noon, followed by the laying of a wreath at the historical marker that commemorates the landing of the first Colonists. The museum will be open for touring, and after a short program indoors there will be a light buffet reception and birthday cake. Admission is free. For information, call (301) 769-2222.

Next weekend, "Maryland Days" will be celebrated at the state's outdoor living-history museum, Historic St. Mary's City. Celebrations have been held here at the site of Maryland's first settlement for more than 20 years.

You can visit a 17th-century military encampment, watch the St. Maries Citty Militia practice tactical drills on Governor's Field or take horse-drawn wagon rides to the site of the Great Brick Chapel and see archaeologists at work uncovering Maryland's past. Presentations on the archaeological discoveries at St. Mary's City will take place at the Visitor Center, and there will be craft demonstrations, Maryland seafood and music by chantey singer John Townley and others.

The historic schooner Pioneer, a museum ship at New York's South Street Seaport Museum, will visit St. Mary's City and offer cruises on the St. Mary's River. The 90-minute cruises will depart at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The cruise costs $8 for adults; $6 for seniors, children and students with identification.

The weekend also coincides with the museum's season opening, and all exhibits will be open to the public free of charge Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A parking fee of $2 is requested.

Historic St. Mary's City is on state Route 5, six miles below Lexington Park in Southern Maryland. For information, call (301) 862-0990.

Books and cooks

The Book and the Cook, a five-day food festival that has become one of the country's largest culinary events, will have its ninth annual run in Philadelphia Wednesday through next Sunday.

Cookbook authors and food and wine experts such as Nathalie Dupree, Graham Kerr, Alice Waters, Pierre Franey, Craig Claiborne, Mollie Katzen and Paula Wolfert -- who will be presented with this year's Philadelphia Courvoisier Toque Award for exceptional achievement in culinary writing and accomplishments -- will join Philadelphia chefs and restaurateurs creation of one-of-a-kind meals at restaurants throughout the city. The 68 dining events are open to the public at prices ranging from $15 to $75.

In addition, the Book and the Cook Fair on Saturday and Sunday at the 103rd Engineers Armory, 33rd and Market streets, will showcase more than 100 food purveyors, kitchen equipment and appliances, and other food-related products.

Graham Kerr will make two appearances at the fair, at 1 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Nathalie Dupree, Irene Rothschild, Lois Ellen Frank and Julie Roberts will also give cooking demonstrations. The hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children under 12.

There will also be food and beverage-tasting events, tours of food markets and programs for children. For a brochure, call (800) 537-7676 or (215) 636-1666.

Blowing in the wind

Kite fans from around the globe will congregate on the grounds of the Washington Monument Saturday for the 27th annual Smithsonian Kite Festival, sponsored by the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program and the National Air and Space Museum.

This year's competition is a memorial to its founder, aviation pioneer and Smithsonian historian emeritus Paul E. Garver, who died in the fall. His national collection of historic aircraft was the foundation for the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

Competition rules state that all kites must be handmade and capable of flying at a minimum altitude of 100 feet for at least one minute.

Registration will be from 10 a.m. to noon. Trophies and ribbons will be awarded at the conclusion of the festival. Rain date is the next day. Admission is free. Call (202) 357-3030.

Tap into a tree

Somerset County, Pa., showcases its maple industry with a five-day celebration in Meyersdale Saturday and next Sunday and continuing April 2-4.

This is the 46th year for the Pennsylvania Maple Festival, one of the oldest in the country.

The center for activities is Festival Park on Meyers Avenue, where you can visit a maple camp and see the maple sugaring process. The park also contains an authentic cobbler's shop, an antique doctor's office, old-fashioned country store and historic Maple Manor, the oldest home in the area. Here too, you'll find crafts workers selling their wares, homemade food, and bluegrass musicians and cloggers performing on the park stage.

Other attractions include a parade, a historic pageant, antique cars, a quilt show, Queen's Ball and an "oldies" dance. The Lions Club will be selling pancake and sausage dinners each day. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for students and free for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult. Call (814) 634-0213.

Quilts on beds, on backs

A top attraction in Lancaster, Pa., this week is the sixth annual Quilters Heritage Celebration at the Lancaster Host Resort and Conference Center from Thursday through next Sunday.

The four-day celebration will include workshops, classes, exhibits, lectures and demonstrations. You can also attend the first East Coast showing of Quilt National '91, an exhibit of 45 quilts created by artists from around the world. Another highlight is the annual fashion show and luncheon at noon Friday, featuring the latest quilted wearable art. Tickets cost $17.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 per day or $10 for all four days. There is an additional charge for lectures, classes and workshops. The center is on U.S Route 30 east of Lancaster. Call (800) 735-2629, Ext. 2399.

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