African-Americans in the Wild West

Round up the family and mosey on over to the Western-themed African-American Family Festival at the Walters Art Museum Saturday.


"Blacks and Westward Expansion" honors African-American pioneers who ventured west in the middle to late 1800s, searching for freedom and opportunity.

Visitors can tour the exhibits Grafton Tyler Brown: Visualizing California and the Pacific Northwest and Rhythm on Paper: The Illustrations of Brian Pinkney, which both open today.


Members of the Baltimore Metropolitan Area Chapter of the 9th and 10th Buffalo Soldiers Association will tell stories about the adventures of black cowboys and cowgirls, including Bulldogging Bill Pickett, Deadwood Dick and Stagecoach Mary.

Artifacts from the Wild West will be on display, and a 1930s movie starring black cowboys will also be shown. Visitors can take part in Western art activities all day, and the first 300 kids will receive a free cowboy hat, harmonica or kazoo.

The African-American Family Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St. Free. Call 410-547-9000 or visit www.the

-- Lori Sears

A new 'Cinderella' at Children's Playhouse

The Children's Playhouse of Maryland kicks off its 2004 season this weekend with a new version of Cinderella. Those accustomed to seeing the traditional fairy tale might not expect a plot twist - the emergence of the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.

The musical features local young talent, including Elisa Dugan as Cinderella and Matt Macis as Prince Edward.

This youth-oriented show is ideal for family outings or for a larger group or birthday party. It runs Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. through March 7.


The Children's Playhouse of Maryland is at 6501 N. Charles St. in the Sheppard Pratt Health System Conference Center, Towson. $8-$10. Call 410-321-6595 for additional show times.

NASCAR race cars at 39th RV show

The Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium will hold an indoor exhibition for RV enthusiasts and NASCAR fans this weekend and next weekend. The 39th annual Maryland Recreational Vehicle Show will have the latest the industry has to offer spread over more than 5 acres.

As an added attraction, the Dale Jarrett No. 88 Ford race car with the new Arnold Palmer tribute design will be on display Saturday and Sunday. Next weekend, the show welcomes NASCAR's defending points champion Matt Kenseth's No. 17 car.

The show runs 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Timonium. $8; free for children under 12. Free parking is available. For more information, visit or call 410-561-7323.

The sweetest sign that spring is coming


It's hard sometimes to accept the word of a groundhog. Please, no more winter, you say. Well, one of the surest signs that spring is upon us: maple-tree tapping.

Watch and learn about the process of extracting sap and boiling it to produce maple syrup at the "Maple Sugaring" this weekend and next weekend at the Oregon Ridge Nature Center in Cockeysville.

Naturalists will lead hikes and guide visitors through the entire process. Afterward, folks can visit the gift shop to buy maple syrup and other items. There's also an exhibition detailing the Native American approach to "sugaring off."

The "Maple Sugaring" event runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through the end of February at the Oregon Ridge Nature Center, 13555 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville. Free. Call 410-887-1815 with questions or for driving directions.

- Aron Davidowitz