Marie Sanbower will celebrate her 20th anniversary as a home day care provider during the annual firefighter's parade down Mount Airy's Main Street on July 27.
A group of current and former attendees of Marie's Day Care near Taylorsville will ride on Mrs. Sanbower's anniversary float. A banner featuring the photographs and signatures of nearly 100 of her "kids" will decorate the parade entry, which also will feature a skirt with illustrations depicting the past 20 years.
Young riders will toss candy to children along the parade route as older day care alumni walk beside the float carrying balloon bouquets. A huge, yellow smiley face -- the mascot of Marie's Day Care -- will decorate the banner and each of the shirts of all participants.
Marie's Day Care has had a float in the parade for the past eight years and has placed second and third in the competition. The "20-Year Reunion" entry in the parade will mark the end of Mrs. Sanbower's participation in the annual event.
"We hope this year we win first place," she said.
Planning for the parade float began about one year ago when Mrs. Sanbower began to gather photographs of her day care brood.
Friends helped to make the banners and Mrs. Sanbower devoted many hours to locating children she watched to garner autographs for the 20-year reunion keepsake.
Mrs. Sanbower said she decided to start a home day care business in March 1975 because she wanted to stay home with her own children, who were ages 7 years and 5 months at the time. She and husband, Joe, have two sons -- Timmy, now 26, and Joey, now 20.
She started through word-of-mouth advertising as a licensed provider with six children. Through the years, she estimated she has cared for 200 children, infants to middle-school age.
Teen-ager Bethany Fisher attended Marie's Day Care for the longest period, from the ages of 7 weeks to 11 years.
Day care has been a positive experience for Mrs. Sanbower. She said that she has had the opportunity to provide a valuable service to her day care families while operating a profitable, home-based business.
The biggest challenge, she said, is making sure her day care children "are always OK. You have to have eyes all over."
The most enjoyable aspect of home day care is getting to know the different personalities of the children, said Mrs. Sanbower. "Some [children] you get closer to than others."
Some of Mrs. Sanbower's favorite memories stem from her annual Marie's Day Care Christmas Party with Santa who brings a gift for each child.
An occasional visit from Mrs. Sanbower's first grandchild, 4-month-old Austin Marshall Sanbower, has been a recent joy.
Organization may be Mrs. Sanbower's key to day care success. She adheres to regularly scheduled activities that include crafts, reading stories, and a daily rest time for the children from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
"It gives me back my sanity," she said.
Classes focusing on children's activities, health care and business issues that day care providers must take every two years are "very helpful," especially for recipes and instructions, said Mrs. Sanbower. "I don't care how many books you have, you always run out of ideas."
Day care hours run from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, at Mrs. Sanbower's home. She serves breakfast, lunch and a snack. She also plans trips to the library and provides the opportunity for older children to bowl on a weekly summer league.
Mrs. Sanbower would like to collect the signatures of as many of her former day care children as possible for her 20-year reunion banner. She encourages any of them who have not been contacted to call her at (410) 875-0226.
There are two more evenings to enjoy the bounty of food, games, fellowship and foot-tapping entertainment at the 31st annual Winfield Community Fire Department Carnival.
The country band Maria Rose and Blue Horizon will be featured on stage today at 7 p.m. Pikesville Rye, another country group, will provide entertainment on the final night of the fund-raiser. Saturday will also feature the grand drawings for raffles.
Fire Department volunteers encourage area residents to bring their lawn chairs and appetites but to leave their coolers and pets at home. In addition to the walk-around goodies to purchase, platters will be served from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Winfield's air-conditioned fire hall.
The carnival is at 1320 W. Old Liberty Road, in Winfield, adjacent to South Carroll High School.
Opportunities still exist for area children, first-graders to seventh-graders, to attend the Carroll County Family YMCA Summer Fun Club at Mount Airy Elementary School.
The camp, which features summer activities and field trips, is in session at the North Main Street facility from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The fee is $95 per child per week. Information: 848-3660.
A trip to the recent Multiple District 22 Convention in Virginia Beach gave several members of the Mount Airy Lions Club the opportunity to meet Lions Clubs International's President Giuseppe Grimaldi of Enna, Italy.
Mount Airy Lions Ed and RoseAnn Parenteau, Russell Ray, Martha Paisie, Robert Disinger, Joseph Roemer and Murray Ryan meet Dr. Grimaldi during the convention, which was held May 17-20.
Our local Lions were included in the more than 2,000 delegates and their guests from Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia, who attended the annual event.
The meeting was arranged by Mr. Ryan, who is a Past International Director and a charter member of the Mount Airy Lions Club.
Children who have completed first grade and up are invited to have "Puppet Fun" at Mount Airy library, 705 Ridge Ave., July 28.
Registration is required for the two puppetry programs that will be held at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. To register, drop by the children's department desk at the library or call 795-1010 or (301) 829-5290.