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Top riders compete for Olympic slots in Devon, Pa.

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The American Gold Cup in Devon, Pa., Sept. 14-17 is the place to see some of the nation's top horse riders compete for four slots on the 1996 United States team that will go to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Although equestrian events are the main attraction, there are activities for those with other interests, such as boutique shopping -- you can buy everything from antiques to hand-tailored clothing. On Children's Day (Sept. 16) there will be face painting, hayrides, a petting zoo, pony rides and a Celebrity Dog Show, and admission is free to children under 13 who draw a picture of their dog and present it at the gate. Pony rides, hayrides and the petting zoo are featured throughout the weekend.

Gates open at 9 a.m. daily; at 10 a.m. Sunday. General admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children, and proceeds will benefit the Germantown Hospital and Medical Center. The show takes place at the Devon Show Grounds on U.S. 30 in Devon. Call (215) 951-8879.

Maryland Wine Festival

Maryland wines will be showcased next weekend, when the Maryland Wine Festival returns to the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Sept. 16-17.

This is a fine opportunity to sample Maryland's many wines, because the state's 10 commercial wineries will all be represented. The Governor's Cup trophy for the best wine will be presented at the festival Saturday. There will also be demonstrations on how to distinguish and evaluate wines, wine-education seminars and amateur wine judging.

But for many the festival means good food, great entertainment and a place to meet friends. Food will be provided by some of the area's best restaurants and includes everything from sandwiches to gourmet platters. And there's a full schedule of entertainment both days, filling the air with the sounds of jazz, ragtime, classical, country, African-Caribbean and Dixieland. The farmhouse will be open for tours, and museum crafts people will be on hand to demonstrate and exhibit their wares.

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12 for those over 21 with identification, which entitles you to 10 1-ounce samples of wine and an engraved festival glass. Call (410) 876-2667.

Boat festival

Sept. 16-17 will also be a weekend of boat races, food and fun on the Chesapeake. During the Traditional Boat Festival at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, some 30 sailing vessels will race on the Miles River. Entries include skipjacks, bugeyes, schooners and cat boats. Two races are scheduled Saturday, weather permitting. The first begins at 10:30 a.m., and the second at 1:30 p.m. There's also an opportunity to crew aboard one of the racing skipjacks for a fee of $25. To reserve a place, call the museum.

Sunday the annual log canoe race is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. Again, a skipjack will be available to take spectators out for a close-up view of the race.

Race-goers can enjoy the festivities on museum grounds both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be food, music, arts and crafts vendors, and model skipjack races Sunday.

Festival activities are included in the museum admission of $7.50 for adults; $6.50 for seniors; $3 for under 18; free for under 6. Call (410) 745-2916.

Tour of Chestertown

You can visit some 18th-century buildings Sept. 16 when the Historical Society of Kent County sponsors its 26th annual Candlelight Walking Tour of Chestertown.

Sixteen Colonial mansions and 19th- and 20th-century dwellings will be on view from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The River House, built in

the 1780s; Fort Belvedere, named for its belvedere or upper-story gallery, which offers a commanding view of the Chester River; and Marshview, restored as an English country cottage, are among the tour stops.

Period music will be featured in some of the homes, and Christ United Methodist Church in Chestertown will serve dinner that evening. Tour tickets cost $15 and can be bought at ticket booths in town or at the Butterfly Bush on Cross Street. Call (410) 778-0416.

Sharpsburg celebrates

Sharpsburg, a town with many pre-Civil War structures, celebrates its past Sept. 15-17. The fourth annual Heritage Festival will be a weekend of history lectures, plays, walking tours, living-history presentations, exhibits and music.

The event begins Friday at 9 p.m. with a barn dance at Piper Barn, located on Antietam Battlefield. Popular 19th-century music will be provided by the Tuckahoe Social Orchestra and the Wildcat Regiment Band. Tickets cost $10. Call (301) 432-4065. The dance is the only ticketed event of the weekend. All other activities are free.

Living-history presentations will take visitors from the French and Indian War through an early 1800s trading camp and into the Civil War. Presentations include artillery drills, cavalry programs, medical demonstrations and tomahawk-throwing contests. During the March for Remembrance at noon Saturday, military bands will lead a parade of Union and Confederate troops through town to honor the memory of soldiers who fought at the Battle of Antietam.

Music will include the Virginia Company from Williamsburg, a troubadour, the Wildcat Regiment Band performing on original instruments dating from 1840-1865, the 2nd Maryland Fifes and Drums, and the Rohrersville Band, one of the oldest community bands in the country.

The Discovery Camp allows families to participate in games of the past, including a 19th-century parlor game. There's also a storyteller, a craft fair, a gospel concert and food, including a country breakfast served both days by the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Company.

As part of its Anniversary Weekend, Antietam Battlefield will present encampments, walking tours of the battlefield and a Saturday night torchlight tour. Reservations are required for the torchlight tour. Call (301) 432-5124.

Sharpsburg is in Washington County at the intersection of state routes 34 and 65. Call (301) 432-8308 or (800) 228-STAY.

Wings 'n' Water

New Jersey's Wings 'n' Water Festival will bring people back to the beach Sept. 16-17 for an event that stretches 15 miles from Stone Harbor to Cape May.

Sponsored by the Wetlands Institute, this environmental extravaganza features narrated boat cruises, national wildlife artists and carvers, children's workshops and nature games, dune and beach walks, kite shows, model boats and ships, live folk music, crafts people, environmental exhibits, fly tying and casting, and retriever demonstrations. The events will take place at dozens of locations in Stone Harbor, Avalon and Middle Township with free shuttle buses running every few minutes and stopping at each festival event along the way.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission to all weekend events is $10 for adults; $4 for ages 4 to 12. Tickets are good for both days. The Wetlands Institute is at 1075 Stone Harbor Blvd. in Stone Harbor. Call (609) 368-1211.

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