Bingo is a social phenomenon that supports numerous charities.
The Knights of Columbus of Eldersburg are sponsoring an all-day Bingo fest for the already-initiated -- and any others who haven't felt the bite of the winning call.
On Saturday, you may stroll into the American Legion Hall on Slacks Road (follow the signs from Route 32 and Raincliffe Road in Sykesville) at 10 a.m., drink coffee or tea with an amazing array of sociable people, and get serious at noon for some real Bingo.
There will be 80 games, and free tea and coffee all day long. Dinner -- roast beef, ham and other fare you don't have to fix -- will be served to keep the games rolling without interruption.
Smokers and nonsmokers will be separated by a large, floor-to-ceiling curtain.
Everybody wants to win the $1,000 jackpot game, but only one lucky person will. Will it be you? Or maybe you'll win one of the four $250 jackpots.
"Most of these people are real bingo nuts," said Charlie Campbell, chairman of Council 7612 of the Eldersburg Knights of Columbus and past Grand Knight.
"Some of our regular players have as many as 30 cards. They support a lot of our charities with bingo. We do our best to treat them well, too."
Even if you're not impressed with the dinner prepared by American Legion volunteers (it comes with the entry fee), you'll love the door prizes.
"Each year I pick a different door prize and I make sure everybody gets something," Mr. Campbell said. "This year, it's a coffee mug and a dabber."
A dabber is a special marker, pronounced "dawber," that you can use to mark your bingo card.
People play bingo for fun, knowing that the money raised will support local charities.
"We send out between $500 and $800 a month to local charities," Mr. Campbell said. "We've supported the Anthony Omelio Memorial Fund, the Johns Hopkins Oncology Department (in memory of Kelly Ann Patterson), Gary's Widows, Carroll Hospice and Special Olympics of Carroll County. This month, I think we're supporting the Kidney Foundation. We always hold up the check so everyone can see it, at the games, so they know where their money is going."
If you can't make the all-day gaming, you can grab some of the fun any Thursday night at the American Legion Hall. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and games begin at 7:30 p.m. Ten dollars will get you 39 games.
As with every bingo game sponsored by the Knights of Columbus of Eldersburg, a game will be dedicated to charity.
To make your reservation for the bingo fest, or to find out a little more about Thursday night bingo, call Charlie Campbell at 795-2551.
Rain or shine, apples are in season, and the Apple Festival is about to happen at Piney Run Park, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Those who aren't playing bingo will be there enjoying games, hay rides, cider, apple dumplings and learning about early American cooking or how to make apple butter.
Children will delight in Mary Leister's stories, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Johnny Appleseed (really one of his greatest fans) will wander through the crowd extolling the delights of apples and Johnny's history. He really did exist, and he did plant all those apples in between sermons.
"A lot of people just come for the apple goodies," naturalist Deanna Hoffman said, "but there's so much more they always stay for a great time. This year, we have canoe tours as well as the pontoon rides, and George Miller will pull some of the hay rides with his new tractor. He's really proud of it, and he wants to use it in the Apple Fest. We're delighted to have him join us."
The wonderful cider press you remember will be here again, and so will the beekeepers, scarecrow stuffing, pies, dumplings, crafts and birdseed for our wild friends.
Paint a pumpkin. Watch a puppet show with animal puppets at noon and 12:30 p.m. in the Nature Center. Enjoy a hawk program in which Sadie Hawkins, one of the resident hawks, will join BTC Murray Schrotenboer to perform (we hope) while you learn about these wonderful birds of prey.
Learn about traditional American food as prepared between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Or study the art of flint knapping, arrowhead preparation, basket weaving (Indian style), making containers out of bark or dugout canoe construction with American Indian enthusiast Tony Breda.
Traditional Irish music drifting from dulcimers and handmade harps will fill the air, performed by Wherligig.
Bring the kids. Don't miss the fun and, of course, the apple goodies.
For more information about the Apple Festival, call the Nature Center at 795-6043.
There are many great deals that you can get only if you happen to be a senior citizen. One of them is available in a place you probably thought was only for kids -- Liberty High School.
"We call it the Golden Age Club," said Shelly Bailey, one of the school's secretaries.
"It is especially for grandparents of the kids in the school, but any senior citizen is welcome to join."
Members of the new Golden Age Club receive membership cards with gold seals that enables them to attend for free any event sponsored by Liberty High School.
"I called the people over at Fairhaven to offer it to their residents," Mrs. Bailey said. "Our plays and sports events make great outings for them."
Want your card? All that is necessary to join is to call Mrs. Bailey at the school, 795-8100. Ask and you shall receive.
Hurricane Hugo is but a faint memory to us here in Maryland, but it is still vivid to the eyes of those who suffered in its wake. There are still houses to rebuild, and families whose lives have been interrupted and continue to live in sagging, leaking homes.
Wesley Freedom Methodist Church in Eldersburg is trying to help.
On Saturday, the congregation will sell homemade soups to raise money for a work team of parishioners, which will depart Nov. 11 for St. Steven, S.C.
You can buy the soups in family-size quart containers at the church from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., or you can enjoy a lunch of homemade soup, rolls, a beverage and dessert, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. -- and take some home for later.
St. Steven "was wiped out by Hugo," said parishioner Marianne Reese. "There is still lots of rebuilding to be done. We're sending a work team that will bring its own tools and supplies to fix a roof and make other repairs to a home in St. Steven. We're hoping that everyone will come and enjoy a homemade luncheon that will help to pay the costs of the team."
If you can't make it to the church Saturday, you can call 795-2777 to order quarts of homemade vegetable, navy bean or potato soup. It's only $2.50 per quart.