SINCE 1978, Westminster has held an all-out gala, a celebration of autumn. This annual event sprawls over a two-block area in downtown, offering something for everyone.
This year Westminster Fallfest is scheduled for Thursday through Sunday and will include a variety of entertainment, food, a parade, rides, vendors and more.
"We draw between 30,000 and 40,000 people if the weather is right," said organizer Ron Schroers.
Fallfest will kick off with a parade Thursday at 7 p.m., with State Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein serving as grand marshal. This year, more than 40 entries have signed up.
"The parade is now officially being covered live by Prestige Cable," Mr. Schroers said. Cash prizes of $125, $100 and $75 will be awarded for winning parade entries.
A golf tournament starting at 8 a.m. Friday will raise money for charities. Carnival rides will run every evening and all day Saturday. Merchants will celebrate with a midnight madness sale Friday night. Stores will stay open until midnight.
On Saturday and Sunday, children can enjoy pony rides on the city playground, sponsored by Wakefield Valley Pony Club from noon to 4 p.m. each day.
Fallfest will feature more than 200 vendors selling food, crafts and trinkets, and offering information about clubs, agencies and service organizations.
According to Mr. Schroers, craft, commercial and nonprofit vendors will offer wares on the Longwell parking lot and inside Longwell Municipal Center on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, 4-H clubs will set up displays in front of the public library on Main Street.
Entertainment is offered Saturday and Sunday. Some of the best acts from Carroll County and beyond will perform at Longwell Municipal Center and City Playground stages.
Shows will feature aerobics, gymnastics, clogging and a magic act Saturday. Music will include oldies, country, rock, hip-hop, jazz, folk and gospel.
A karaoke contest at 3:30 p.m. Saturday will give participants the chance to win merchandise, including a free VHS movie rental once a week for a year.
If you aren't into singing, perhaps you would like to enter the Pie Eating Contest, 3 p.m., Saturday, or the Pig Calling Contest at 2 p.m. The winner of the Pig Calling Contest could win a gift basket donated by Maurer and Miller or Hahn Meats of Westminster.
Miss Teen Carroll, Heather Hull, will entertain crowds with her singing at 3 p.m, Saturday. At 3:30 p.m., First Assembly of God will present an improvisational show, and at 4 p.m., the 4-H Performing Arts Club will present acts, including song, dance, monologue and choral numbers.
"By far the biggest [entertainment] draw last year was Kathie Martin and the Hot Rods," Mr. Schroers said. They will return Saturday at 7 p.m. on the Playground Stage.
On Saturday and Sunday, roving entertainment will be provided. Jugglers, stilt-walkers, clowns, magicians, musicians, and tricksters, including Jerry Brown and his trained monkey, will be featured. Or, children might want to check out the petting zoo, street rods, kids creative corner, or scarecrow making.
For information on how to enter the parade's float competition, or to obtain a vendor space, call Diane Eppig at 848-9161.
St. John Burger King Night
Tuesday is St. John Burger King Night. From 4 p.m. to closing, every purchase made at the Burger King in Westminster could help the St. John Parents, Teachers and Friends bring special programs and other extras to students at St. John School in Westminster.
"A percentage of the profits which exceed the average profits for the past three Tuesday nights will go to St. John," said Debbie Mathias of the PTF. "We had this same fund-raiser last year and it went really well."
Children who learned clowning during a summer enrichment program at St. John will be in costume and on hand to entertain.
Lois Szymanski's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.