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Heritage Week to highlight region's roots

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Howard County is preparing to show off its past.

Starting Friday, groups around the area will offer a bevy of events for Heritage Week, which the Howard County Historical and Cultural Alliance started three years ago as a way to remind residents of the county's history.

From farm demonstrations to tea parties, the activities are designed to spotlight periods in Howard's past.

Melissa Arnold, marketing director for the Howard County Tourism Council, which is helping promote the events, said she thinks there is a lot of interest in history. Celebrations have begun for the county's 150th birthday next year.

"We have more far-reaching history here than people seem to realize," she said.

Mount Pleasant Farm, for instance, was the home of ranger Thomas Browne, who in the late 17th century surveyed the headwaters of the Patuxent River.

The Mount Pleasant site - at 10520 Old Frederick Road in Woodstock - will be host of Farm Heritage Days from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 23 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24.

Visitors to the farm will see demonstrations of vintage farm equipment, a working blacksmith shop and antique vehicles.

Organizers are also offering wagon rides.

Other events include:

The dedication of the Bollman Truss Bridge as a national historic landmark. It is the last iron truss bridge in the world, Arnold said. The event will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at 8650 Foundry St. in Savage.

Harvest Days at the Historic Cider Mill Farm, 5012 Landing Road in Elkridge, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 23 and 24. Events range from sheep shearing to scarecrow making.

Story Circles, oral histories of longtime residents, at 3 p.m. Sunday at Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road in Ellicott City.

Also, members of Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, who care for the ruins of the 19th-century Ellicott City girls school, are reprising an event they've found to be popular: Victorian tea parties, complete with live period music and servers in costume.

As of last week, almost all seats for the two "teas," scheduled at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, were reserved.

"It's the general curiosity of 19th-century customs," said Christina Pitman, the park director, explaining the rush to attend.

Information about Heritage Week events: the Howard County Tourism Council, 410-313-1900.

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