Herbs have come into their own as more and more of us are trying exotic cuisines, homeopathic remedies and organic gardening. And now, to make a splash in the festival scene, comes the Herb Festival at Piney Run Park on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"They're [herbs] such popular items," said Elaine Sweitzer, a naturalist at Piney Run. "People are trying to get back to more natural ways of eating and gardening. People can come here and see what the growing herbs look like, and know what they're used for.
"The items for sale will be really nice -- it should be a really nice time for the whole family."
Everyone can enjoy the Maypole Dance at 2 p.m., as well as Tom Harbole's rendition of "Brother Thomas." Mr. Harbole will dress as a medieval monk and stroll about the scene discussing traditional herbal ointments, medieval, medicinal and witchcraft uses of herbs.
If you like bees, you can listen to beekeepers discuss how to attract bees with herbs.
Irene Iannuzzi will weave a traditional bee skep out of wheat straw. Bee skeps are portable beehives. They were used in Europe and in colonial times to move hives to areas where farmers wished to pollinate crops to ensure good harvests. They are just as useful today.
Pam Katz will demonstrate how to make simple edibles with herbs, such delights as salsa, herb butters and finger foods, at noon and 12:30 p.m. Potpourri, sachets and herbed soap also are on the demonstration agenda. Talks about herb growing and usage, wild herbs, aromatic herbs, vinegars and Native American herbal usage will complete your herb education.
The gentle music of an autoharp will accompany your meal, prepared by Bonnie Smith. Ms. Smith, famous for her fine cooking -- she makes the apple pies and dumplings for the Apple Fest, in addition to other fabulous fare -- will have herbed chicken, herbed bread, chicken and vegetarian sandwiches, herbed, of course, available to sample. Prices are reasonable.
Looking for a great and unusual Mother's Day gift? Items for sale include dried herbs and potted plants, of course, books, potpourri, sachets, honey and bee pollen, goat's milk, herbal soaps, filled May baskets and the Herb Festival Cookbook, prepared for this occasion.
For further information, call Piney Run Park at 795-3274.
The Freedom Family Funfest is back! At Freedom Elementary School from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, rain or shine, you and the kids can enjoy a cornucopia of delightful activities, from ring toss to storytelling.
Tickets are only $.25 each, so this won't break you, and you will help the Freedom Parent Teachers Association with their fund raising efforts.
You may park at the Eldersburg Business Center on Bennett Road at Route 32 and ride the free shuttle to the school. Service will be continuous, and if your children are anything like mine, they will probably think this is as much fun as a carnival ride.
Then get set to toss a football, do the cake walk, make a button, play miniature golf or five pin bowling, catapult a "chicken" into a pot, decorate a cookie and play ring toss.
Young children will love the "Moonwalk," an inflated jumping arena, and the pony rides.
Free for the whole family is the obstacle course called "Mr. Hale's Health Club." A magician will perform from noon to 1 p.m., and if he brings you luck you may win one of the many raffles.
"All of the activities are named after a teacher or other staff member," said Tina Crockett, who organized the event. "It's a fun day for kids and a great place to get Mother's Day gifts."
The raffle items were planned with gifts in mind. In addition to the 50-50 raffle there will be flowers, facials from A Final Touch, a Mother's Day cake and gift certificates from area restaurants.
Also planned are a plant sale, bake sale and tons of the food children love best -- popcorn, hot dogs, pizza and nachos.
Take home a cake someone else baked and your day will be perfect.