Back in another lifetime, so to speak, I was asked to be one of the judges for a pumpkin decorating contest. What fun it was, and what a responsibility. The variety was stunning, and you just knew that each one had an invisible string straight to a kid's heart.
Those children had days to work on their designs. This afternoon at Annapolis Elementary School on Green Street, the children will have only a few minutes for their decorating contest, but the results will be just as meaningful.
Annapolis Elementary has a mentoring project in cooperation with Alpha Phi Alpha, a national black fraternity. One of the fraternity members owns a pumpkin farm. At 2:30 this afternoon, he's delivering 350 of the seasonal symbols to the school, so each child can have one to take home. A pumpkin decorating contest is part of the afternoon's fun.
More than 200 children from Central Elementary, Central Middle and Mayo Elementary schools will visit the Maryland Dove, a full-scale reproduction of a 17th-century square rigger docked for the day at the London Town Publik House & Gardens.
The Maryland Dove is a working museum ship named after the pinnace Dove, which carried the supplies for the first Maryland colonists in 1634. The ship's crew, with the exception of the master and boatswain, is composed of volunteers. Costumed interpreters on board talk with visitors about trade and transportation, immigration, navigation and life on board a period ship.
The school children will visit the ship in shifts between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. The public is invited to tour the ship from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free to members of the London Town Foundation, $2 for adult nonmembers, $1 for children ages 6 to 18. Transportation costs for school trips were underwritten by donations from the South River, Lothian, Davidsonville and Silver Triangle Ruritan Clubs.
The best buy in the county is even better right now: 1994 parking passes are available for Quiet Waters and Downs Parks. They cost $20 per vehicle and are valid immediately, so you get the rest of 1993 for free.
The passes are available at the gatehouse and park office at both parks (which are closed Tuesdays). Information: 222-1777.
The Writers' Association of Anne Arundel County, a group of nearly 150 local writers, is holding its sixth annual Annapolis Writers Conference at Mellon Hall on the campus of St. John's College from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 6. Assignment to sessions is made on a first-come, first-served basis, so early registration is encouraged.
Conference topics range from "Creating a Sense of Place" to "Creative Strategies for the Currently non-Published." Guest writers lined up for the day include William D. Pease, "Chadwick the Crab" author Priscilla Cummings and local screenwriter Patti White. The conference has much to offer both the established and beginning writer.
The registration fee includes five one-hour sessions, a one-hour panel discussion and morning refreshments. The fee is $45 for students and association members, $55 for nonmembers. For more program information, call Kevin Schaeffer at 268-6600 or 263-3631 evenings, or Christine Myers at 383-5621 or in the evening at 280-2131.
I recently heard a wonderful description of a group of 20 or so wheelchair folks and some friends taking over the dance floor at a yuppie bar at happy hour on a Friday. The scene won't be quite the same, but it will surely be fun, at the free "Wheelchairs
are for Dancing" class at the Knights of Pythias Hall in Annapolis Nov. 13. The class runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. There is no charge, but registration is required by this Friday. Call Bobbi at 263-9600.
Contributions are accepted throughout the season, but you can add sparkle to your "Tree of Lights" gift by making it now. Then yours will be one of the lights turned on at the lighting ceremony at Anne Arundel Medical Center Dec. 1. The 11th annual Tree of Lights offers you the opportunity to dedicate a sparkling light to honor or remember someone you love.
The cost is $5 per name, and the tree will glow every night through January. Glenna Long is chairwoman of the event.
The tree lighting also kicks off the annual Wreaths and Trees sale by the center's auxiliary at the Ramada hotel. This year's ancillary festivities include a cocktail buffet Wednesday evening, with a contest of trees decorated by local celebrities, and a fashion show luncheon at the hotel Thursday. The sale continues through Friday morning.
The Naval Academy Women's Club will present its annual arts and crafts show Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Dahlgren Hall. The club asks that strollers not be brought to the show until after 1 p.m.
Proceeds from the show benefit the club's scholarship and charity fund. A $2 donation is requested. Parking is available at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium for $3, with a free shuttle bus to the academy.