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Celebrate the state's birthday in its first capital city


It's Maryland's 361st birthday, and a good place to celebrate is the state's original settlement and capital at St. Mary's City. "Maryland Days" will be held there with pomp and pageantry from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and March 26

Visitors will be transported by horse-drawn wagon from the Visitor Center to the activities in Governor's Field, or they can use the free shuttle bus. There will be displays by Maryland museums in the Visitor Center, and the St. Maries Citty Militia will put on a Colonial militia muster on Governor's Field. You can also visit the archaeological excavations, where Maryland's past is being uncovered. An outdoor food court will offer everything from local specialties and seafood to various ethnic favorites. For entertainment, music of the period will be featured at Farthing's Ordinary, a re-created inn of the late 17th century. Traditional music for recorder, lute, bagpipes and hurdy-gurdy will be performed all day Saturday by "Pan's Fancy" from Philadelphia. On Sunday, Dean Shostak from Colonial Williamsburg will play the fiddle and hurdy-gurdy.

The historic schooner Pioneer, the only surviving American-built iron sailing vessel, will be in port during the festivities to offer cruises on the St. Mary's River. The Pioneer is a museum ship at New York's South Street Seaport Museum. The 1 1/2 -hour cruises at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day cost $8 for adults; $6 for children, seniors and students with ID.

The official commemoration will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday on the lawn in front of the Reconstructed State House of 1676. Gov. Parris N. Glendening is expected to be on hand for observances that include music by the the St. Mary's College Wind Ensemble and the Zion Methodist Church Gospel Choir and and a ceremony of flags with fourth-grade students from every county in Maryland and Baltimore City taking part.

Maryland Days also coincides with the season opening of historic St. Mary's City, the state's living-history museum. During this open-house weekend. all exhibits, including the square-rigged ship the Maryland Dove and a working tobacco plantation, will be open free of charge. There is a $3 donation per car for parking. Free shuttle service will be provided from the Visitor Center to Governor's Field and the Spray Tobacco plantation. Historic St. Mary's City is on Route 5, 13 miles south of Leonardstown in Southern Maryland. Call (800) SMC-1634 or (301) 862-0990.

Landing site

For a full appreciation of Maryland's history, it is necessary to travel to St. Clement's Island, where a historical marker commemorates the landing of Maryland's first Colonists. St. Clement's Island-Potomac River Museum at Colton's Point looks directly out on the island landing site. Maryland Day Ceremonies will be held at the museum from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The ceremony includes flag raising, remarks by distinguished guests and a wreath-laying ceremony at a historical marker on museum grounds. After the ceremony, a buffet lunch will be served in the museum. It is open to the public and costs $5 for nonmembers. Take Route 5 to the flashing light at Morganza, just north of Leonardtown, turn onto Route 242 and follow signs to museum. Call (301) 769-2222.

Food for thought

Food will be the big attraction in Philadelphia this week as the 11th edition of the Book and the Cook celebration takes place from Wednesday through March 26.

This year, 56 dining events are scheduled, bringing together renowned cookbook authors, food authorities and Philadelphia chefs to create one-of-a-kind meals at fine restaurants throughout the city. Diners will have an opportunity to meet authors Craig Claiborne, Nathalie Dupree, Hugh Carpenter, Marian Burros, Pierre Franey and Paula Wolfert as well as some of the country's up-and-coming young chefs who have recently written their own cookbooks.

In addition, there will be a bread-baking class with award-winning author Brother Peter Reinhart; gourmet tours; a chef's tour of the Italian Market with a behind-the-scenes walking tour of the oldest outdoor ethnic market in the country; a Chinatown tasting; kitchen tours, spotlighting the restaurants of the Fairmount and Philadelphia Art Museum neighborhoods; an ice-cream tasting party; wok cooking; and a film festival that features screenings of the film "Like Water for Chocolate," followed by a five-course feast of delicacies from the book at the Palladium Restaurant.

Another big event is the Book and the Cook Fair, which runs Friday to Sunday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets. Here you will see 130 gourmet food purveyors, watch cooking demonstrations by prominent cookbook authors and chefs, enjoy free food samples and see the latest cookware. There will be a huge selection of cookbooks with many authors available to autograph them. Hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for children under 12; free for under 3.

6* Call (215) 636-1666 or (800) 537-7676.

Shop and listen

Shopping will not be the only tourist attraction in Reading, Pa., next weekend. Music lovers will flock to the outlet area for the fifth annual VF Factory Outlet/Berks Jazz Fest, a long weekend of contemporary jazz from Thursday through March 26.

More than 20 events, including concerts, late-night jazz, jazz happy hours, jazz shopping sprees, jazz lunches, brunches and dinners are scheduled in venues throughout Berks County. Among the musicians appearing at this year's festival are Spyro Gyra, Norman Brown, Boney James, the Rippingtons, Cassandra Wilson, the Yellowjackets, Peter White and Rick Braun.

Tickets range in price from $15 to $20. There is also a number of free events. Call (800) 4VF-FEST (483-3378).

Call out the militia

A Colonial Militia Muster will take place Saturday in Leesburg, Va., from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The program will be announced by the Leesburg Town Crier and begins with a discussion of Colonial militias, their equipment, rules and regulations that applied in the annual muster. The talk will be given by John Phillips, author of "Historians Guide to Loudoun County" in the Town Council Chambers on the second floor of the Leesburg government center.

The program will be given in two parts. After the first talk, the First Virginia Regiment will present a re-enactment of a Colonial muster and demonstrate black-powder volley, firing outside on the Town Green. The second talk will be an overview of the campaigns of Virginia's Colonial militia from the late 1600s up to the Battle of Yorktown.

The event is sponsored by the Thomas Balch Library, a local history and genealogy library. Admission is free. Call (703) 779-1328.

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