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Articles by Kathy Knotts

Your 2017 guide to finding fall fun
     Summer lingered a little longer this year, thanks to Gov. Hogan’s decree that public schools start after Labor Day. We had 13 weeks of sun, fun, beaches and boats. With the children settling back into their routines, we can now look ahead to Chesapeake Country’s best season. 
     With summer’s humidity wrung out, the air is light, skies often blue and leaves full of color. Autumn is clearly on the horizon.
     This issue of Bay Weekly shows you how to sweetly kiss summer goodbye and welcome the wonders of fall. Here are 50 Ways to Leave Your Summer, a chronology of fun, fare and festivals stretching from the autumnal equinox to Thanksgiving.

 
1 Take an Equinox Hike
We pass from summer to fall with the autumnal equinox at 4:02pm on Friday, September 22, when the sun spends equal time above and below the horizon, balancing light and darkness. Bid summer farewell as you breathe in the fresh air of a new season on a weekend hike. 4-7pm, Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Lothian, free, rsvp: 410-741-9330.
 
2 Hear Two Big Voices
Pack a picnic and outdoor seating to cross from summer into autumn enjoying the music of Troy Ramey — from NBC’s The Voice — and Bryan Frates, both singers whose careers prove that you can — with luck, work and good timing— live your dream; Frates F. Sept 22, 7-10pm, Calverton School, Huntington: $10. rsvp: www.calvertonschool.org
 
3 Kunta Kinte Festival
Celebrate African-American heritage and culture at the 28th annual Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival with music, dance, arts and crafts, traditional foods and children’s tent. Sept. 23, 10am-7pm, Susan Campbell Park, City Dock, Annapolis, free: www.kuntakinte.org.
 
4 S’mores with Scouts
Join the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland for a fall celebration with games, crafts, a 25-foot rock wall, candy apples and our favorite campfire treat — s’mores. Sept. 23, 10am-1pm, Camp Woodlands, Annapolis; Oct. 28, 10am-1pm, Camp Whippoorwill, Pasadena; $10 (includes Fall Patch), rsvp: www.gscm.org.
 
5 Tour Artists’ Studios
Explore the rolling farmland hills and Chesapeake shores as you visit the 17 artists of the Muddy Creek Artists Guild at work in their studios; a free illustrated guide helps you plan your tour. Artists offer refreshments, demos and music. Sept. 23-24, 11am-5pm: www.muddycreekartistsguild.org.
 
6 Meet Author ­Chimamanda Adichie for Maryland One Book
Every autumn, you can join thousands of Marylanders across the state in a giant book club, with discussions both in person (at many libraries) and online. This month, you can talk about this year’s One Book with its author. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — whose Purple Hibiscus was selected by the Maryland Humanities Council as Maryland’s 2107 One Book — joins her readers right here in Calvert County as well as in Gaithersburg and Baltimore.
Purple Hibiscus, Adichie’s debut novel, is the story of a family of privilege in Enugu, Nigeria, during the traumatizing days of a military coup. Its theme are the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the bonds of family and the bright hope of freedom. Purple Hibiscus won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Adichie was winner in 2008 of a MacArthur Genius Award. Her 2013 book Americanah was named one of the New York Times Top Ten Best Books of the Year. Her TED Talks are some of the most-viewed videos of all time.
Talk with Adichie Sun. Sept. 24 at the Baltimore Book Festival’s main Literary Salon at 2pm; Mon. Sept. 25 at Calvert High School in Prince Frederick at 7pm; or Tues. Sept. 26 at Gaithersburg High School at 7pm. rsvp: www.mdhumanities.org.
 
7 Savor Beer, Save Land
Enlarge your acquaintance with local brews while supporting a new campaign to preserve Holly Hill, the largest tract of unprotected land in Calvert County’s pristine Parkers Creek Watershed. Sip & Save with American Chestnut Land Trust and beer from four local and four state breweries. The jazz group The Junior Bryce Band plays, and Dream Weaver Café sells delicious local food. Take a butterfly walk and watch monarch tagging demos and tours of the farm and gardens; plus games, prizes and raffles. Sept. 23, 1-5pm, North Side Trailhead, Double Oak Farm, Prince Frederick, $20 w/discounts, rsvp: www.acltweb.org/index.php/index.php/
events/the-sip-save.
 
8 TrawlerFest
Find your dreamboat at TrawlerFest, an in-water display of powerboats plus first-class boating courses and demos, new marine products and services and more. Sept. 28-30, 10am-5pm, Bay Bridge Marina, Stevensville, $18 w/discounts; rsvp: www.passagemaker.com/
trawlerfest/bay-bridge-2017.
 
9 Calvert County Fair
The Calvert County Fair is a hometown combination of carnival, midway, concert stage and agricultural exposition. See judged displays of home-canning, baking and crafts, with special events daily, including competitions for Calvert Idol, children’s contests, the crowning of Miss Tranquility and Lord Calvert, tractor pulls and concerts. Sept. 27-Oct. 1, Barstow: calvertcountyfair.com.
 
10 Calverton Golf Classic 
Take a Friday off to compete on the greens. Sign up now for Calverton Golf Classic on Sept. 29, 9am, Oak Creek Golf Club, Upper Marlboro: $150 or $600/4, includes cart, golf, lunch and banquet. rsvp: www.calvertonschool.org.
 
11 Bid Farewell to Migrating Monarchs
Learn how your family can help monarch butterflies by watching with Calvert County naturalists, planting milkweed seeds and practicing netting techniques (three sessions offered). Watch the film Flight of the Monarchs between sessions. Sept. 30, 10am-3pm, Kings Landing Park, Huntingtown, $8 w/discounts, rsvp: www.calvertparks.org.
 
12 Deale VFD Crab Feast
All the steamed crabs you can eat, coleslaw, baked beans, corn, hamburgers, hot dogs, beer, soda, tea and lemonade; plus raffles, door prizes and crab races; all to benefit the volunteer fire department and rescue squad. Sept. 30, 5-10pm, $55, rsvp: 443-822-9468.
 
13 Raise a Stein for ­Oktoberfest 
The 27th West Annapolis Oktoberfest opens two blocks for German snacking, drinking and arts and crafts vendors with music from The Oom Pa Pa Band. Sept. 24, 10am-5pm, Annapolis St.: www.facebook.com/WestAnnapolisBiz.
The Second Annual Duckfest beer and music festival hosts musical guests Run Catch Rain, Josh Airhart and the Ryan Forrester Band, and lots of games and contests including cornhole, giant beer pong, giant Jenga, yard-drinking contest, yodeling contest plus face painting for kids and plenty of authentic German food and beer; benefits United Way of Calvert County and Bay-CSS. Oct. 1, 1-6pm, Ruddy Duck Brewery, Solomons, $20 w/discounts, rsvp: www.unitedwaycalvert.org.
 
14 Harvest Fall Flowers & Herbs
Autumn brings out the crafters in us thanks to nature’s bounty of beautiful fall flowers. Decorate a pumpkin with dried flowers, make a flower crown or design a harvest wreath with herbs and everlastings. Fall Harvest Wreath workshop Oct. 7, 10am-1pm, $55; Fall English Tea, Oct. 14, noon-2pm, $30; Fall Harvest Day, Oct. 28, 10am-5pm, (fee for craft activities); Willow Oak Flower & Herb Farm, Severn: www.willoakherbs.com.
 
15 Eat Local, Eat Well
Taste of North County, dig into dishes from over 25 North Anne Arundel County restaurants and caterers, with beer, wine and live music. Oct. 3, 6-8pm, La Fontaine Bleue, Glen Burnie; $30, rsvp: web.naaccc.com/events.
Taste of South County, sample the dishes and drinks of local restaurants, caterers, wineries and breweries; live music by Just Us. Oct. 12, 6-9pm, Historic London Town, Edgewater, $35, rsvp: www.tasteofsouthcounty.org.
Harvest Taste of Solomons. Oct. 28, 11am-4pm, Solomons Boardwalk: www.solomonsmaryland.com.
 
16 U.S. Sail Boat and Power Boat Shows
The annual U.S. Boat Shows in Annapolis are Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for boat lovers. Hundreds of boats, including the newest models of many top lines, are on display in the water, tethered along a mile and a half of floating docks, all contained in an area of roughly five acres. Many of the boats you can board and explore. On land are even more boats as well as every piece of equipment you could need — or imagine you needed. Demos and lectures; food and drink. Sailboat Show Oct. 5-9; Powerboat Show Oct. 12-15, Annapolis; $18 per day w/age discounts: www.annapolisboatshows.com.
 
17 Maryland Jousting Championship
Watch riders aim their lances, six feet long and chiseled to the point of a needle, at a ring that may as well be a dust speck. Oct 7, 10am, Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, Crownsville: http://marylandjousting.com/MJTAschedule.html.
 
18 Riverside WineFest at ­Historic Sotterley
Sample wines at the 15th annual Riverside WineFest, listen to live music and tour the grounds and garden of this national historic landmark. Oct. 7-8, noon-5pm, Historic Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, $25 w/discounts: sotterley.org.
 
19 Oom-pah-pah
It’s Oktoberfest all season long at The Old Stein Inn in Edgewater. German-inspired musicians, both traditional and progressive, play every weekend. 1143 Central Ave., Edgewater: 410-798-6807.
 
20 Patuxent River Appreciation Days
River-directed exhibits and activities for all ages, including arts and crafts, boat building, live music, and free rides on the Wm. B. Tennison and Dee of St. Mary’s; food and drink sold. Oct. 7-8 with parade Sun. 2pm, Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, free: www.calvertmarinemuseum.com/311/PRAD.
 
21 Dining in the Field
Pull up a chair to dine al fresco along the Patuxent River at this elegant feast from local farms, chefs, wineries and brewers. Oct. 12, with cocktails at 4:30pm, dinner at 6pm. Briscoe Farm, St. Leonard; $165 benefits Calvert County Farm Bureau youth leadership programs: www.calvertfarmbureau.com/
dining-in-the-field.
 
22 Quiet Waters Art@the Park
Six dozen artists show their work, along with live music, food, craft beer, specialty wines and demos. Benefits Friends of Quiet Waters Park programs. Oct. 21-22, 10am-5pm, Quiet Waters Park, Annapolis, $6 parking: www.fqwp.org.
 
23 See Little Women, the Opera
No Italian necessary for the Annapolis Opera production of Mark Adamo’s American opera Little Women, based on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved story of four sisters’ growing pains, tragedy and romance after the Civil War. Nov. 3, 8pm & Nov. 5, 3pm at Maryland hall for the Creative Arts, $25-100, rsvp: www.annapolisopera.org.
 
24  Take a Crash Course in Opera
You’ll learn more this month than you have in a lifetime at Annapolis Opera’s lead-up to its premiere presentation of Little Women in November.
Consider how the page is transformed to the stage, Oct. 3, 7pm, Severna Park Library … Listen in as opera company members join the book club discussion of Little Women: Oct. 4, 2pm, Crofton Library … Learn from opera artistic director Ronald J. Gretz how musical themes and motifs carry you through the story in the opera: Oct. 7, 3pm, Maryland Hall; Travel with Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Matteson into the genesis of Little Women in the lives of Alcott and her father: Oct. 29, 3pm, Maryland Hall … Consider with music authority Nancie Kennedy the tough job of an opera singer: Nov. 3, 6pm, & Nov. 5, 1pm, Maryland Hall … Finally, meet the composer: Mark Adamo talks about how he did it:  Nov. 4, 5pm, Maryland Hall, $20, rsvp: www.annapolisopera.org.
 
25 Go Apple Picking
Nothing quite says fall like a fresh, crisp apple. Pick your own (and pumpkins, too) at Blades Orchard in Caroline County on the Eastern Shore. Make a day of it with a picnic, hayride and cider sampling. U-Pick every Sat. & Sun., noon-4pm thru October, Blades Orchard, Federalsburg: www.bladesorchard.com.
 
26  Slurp Up Oysters
With its cooler temperatures, October begins the season of the oyster in Chesapeake Country. For the next six months, oystermen resume their traditional labor, harvesting Crassostrea virginica in the wild. Thus, oyster festivals are in season, too. 
Holland Point Oyster Roast is a community feast of oysters raw, roasted and steamed, plus pit beef and sides (beer and wine $1). Oct. 14, 1-4pm, Loveless Center, Holland Point, $30 w/discounts: www.hollandpoint.org.
Captain Avery Oyster Festival makes a day of it with local restaurants serving oysters raw, fried, in a basket, on a platter or on a roll, and in stew, soup, sushi or shooters; plus local arts and crafts, music, crab races, face painting and the Choose It! auction of goods and services. Buy $5 tickets for $5,000 raffle. Oct. 15, 12:30-5pm, Shady Side, $6 w/discounts: www.captainaverymuseum.org.
The U.S. Oyster Festival returns for its 51st year to St. Mary’s County. Saturday, chefs vie to win the National Oyster Cook-off, and you get to sample the same dishes judged by Bay Weekly editor Sandra Martin, former Baltimore Sun food columnist Rob Kasper and Gwyn Novak of No Thyme to Cook. Sunday brings the National Shucking Championship, whose winner goes to international competition in Galway, Ireland. Sat. Oct. 21, 10am-6pm, Sun. Oct. 22, 11am-6pm, County fairgrounds, Leonardtown, $10 w/discounts: www.usoysterfest.com.
 
27  Tuck into a Church Supper 
Sit down to an old-fashioned fall supper of fried oysters, ham, potatoes au gratin, green beans, homemade coleslaw, rolls and biscuits, beverages and pies; take out, too ($22); visit the bake and garden shops, and tour the historic church. Oct. 14, 1-5pm, St. James Parish, Lothian: stjamesdinners@aol.com.
Eat in or carry out shrimp and roast beef dinner at the Friendship UMC Farm Heritage Festival. Silent auction, antique tractors and trucks, demos, cider-making, hayrides and more. Oct. 21, 1-5pm, Owings: 410-257-7133. 
 
28 Strike Up Some Fun
When fall’s weather turns blustery, head indoors for a day of bowling at Lord Calvert Bowling Center in Huntingtown. Daily specials make bowling an attractive budget-friendly option for families, couples and parties: www.lordcalvertbowling.com.
 
29  Step Aboard a Haunted Ship
Celebrate the scary season at a costume party aboard the Maryland Dove in historic St. Mary’s City. The ship is transformed into a not-too-scary haunted vessel for trick or treating, face-painting and games. Oct. 21, 5:30-8pm: www.hsmcdigshistory.org.
 
30  Explore Legends by Lantern
Hear the horrific tale of Corporal Frank Scott, the first enlisted man to die in an aircraft accident, as you tour the College Park airfield by lamplight. Come in costume for a hayride, tour and hot cider. Oct. 28, tours at 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm, and an adults-only, extra-spooky tour at 8:30pm. College Park Aviation Museum; $10: www.collegeparkaviationmuseum.com.
 
31 Find the Great ­Pumpkin
No need to spend the night in the pumpkin patch. These events bring the pumpkins to you.
See a dazzling display of dozens of hand-carved illuminated pumpkins as you listen to haunted Halloween tales and roast marshmallows beside a fall Jack O’ Lantern campfire. Sa Oct. 21, 7-8:30pm, Darnall’s Chance House Museum, Upper Marlboro, $4 (cash): 301-952-8010.
Learn to carve a creative pumpkin from artist Nancy Baker, Oct. 1 and 28, noon-4pm. Homestead Gardens’ Fall Fest also features a corn maze plus hay and pony rides; Pumpkin and Pollinator Express; jumping pillow, pipe slide, corn box and moon bounce, food and live entertainment. Sat. 11am-6pm, Sun. 11am-5pm thru Oct. 29, Davidsonville, $12: www.homesteadgardens.com.
 
32  Haunted Annapolis Tours
Take a ghostly guided tour of the historic Sands House. Fri., Sat. Oct. 6-28, 7:30 & 8pm, Historic Annapolis Museum, $22 w/discounts, rsvp: www.annapolistours.com.
 
33 Dine on the Harvest of a Sharing Garden
Share in an evening of good food grown, prepared and served by neighbors who’ve bonded together over the last decade to preserve Goshen Farm the last farm on the Broadneck Peninsula. Harvest dinner with bread, side dishes, desserts and beverages. Oct. 14, 5-7:30pm, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Arnold, $10 w/discounts: http://goshenfarm.org/events/harvest-dinner.
 
34 Kinder Farm Fall Harvest Festival
Take a hayride, visit the farm animals, square dance, make scarecrows, peruse arts and crafts, snack and more. Oct. 14, 10am-4pm, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville, free: www.kinderfarmpark.org.
 
35 Drop Back a Century in Time
Listen to bluegrass, view the handiwork of artisans from the period, see displays by watermen and tobacco farmers, sample homemade butter and ice cream and take a lesson in the one-room schoolhouse at the Deale Area Historical Society’s Harvest Day in the Village. Oct. 1, 1-4pm, Herrington Harbour North, Tracy’s Landing, free: www.dahs.us.
 
36 American Indian Festival
Celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of Native Americans at the eighth American Indian Festival, with live performances of traditional and contemporary music, dancing, drumming, singing and storytelling. Try your hand at beading, finger-weaving, flint-knapping, archery, crafts and games. Oct. 21, 10am-5pm, Patuxent River Park, Upper Marlboro, (fee for some activities, food sold): 301-627-6074.
 
37 Tour Working Farms 
Explore Calvert County’s rural side by exploring working farms. Take hayrides, get lost in a corn maze, pick a pumpkin, hear live music, sample wines and more: Horsmon Farm, St. Leonard; Fridays Creek Winery, Owings; Perigeaux Vineyards and Winery, St. Leonard; Spider Hall Farm, Prince Frederick; Mulberry Hill Farm, Huntingtown; Swann Farms, Owings. Oct. 21-22, 11am-5pm, free: 410-535-4583.
 
38 Get Spooked at St. Anne’s Cemetery
Get to know citizens who lived here before us, including residents at historic Hammond Harwood House. Stories of love, tragedy and insanity are unearthed in this hour-long tour through the burying ground. Oct. 21, 4pm, St. Anne’s cemetery entrance, Annapolis; $15 w/discounts: www.hammondharwoodhouse.org.
 
39 Get Lostin a Maze
Greenstreet Gardens specializes in fall fun with a five-acre maze cut in the image of the Brothers Osborne, plus hayrides, cow train ride, a nook in the woods with a giant spider web to climb, and more. Weekends thru Oct. 29, 10:30am-5pm, Lothian; $13: www.greenstreetgardens.com.
Montpelier Farms features a seven-acre corn maze (with flashlight Friday and Saturdays) cut to honor first-responders, pumpkin patch, lots of fun and games, plus food and farm market. Sat. 10am-7pm, Sun. 11am-7pm thru Sept.; Fri. 5pm-11pm, Sat. 10am-11pm, Sun. 11am-7pm Oct.-Nov., Upper Marlboro: $12, www.montpelierfarms.com.
Sunrise Farm celebrates Curious George’s 75th anniversary in its eight-acre corn maze. Sat. 10am-7pm, Sun. 11am-7pm thru Oct. 29, Gambrills: $12: www.mdsunrisefarm.com.
 
40 Maryland ­Renaissance Festival
Return to the 16th century at the village of Revel Grove as King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and the royal court arrive. Come in costume or rent them on-site to immerse yourself fully in this annual favorite; special themed weekends keep things lively. A variety of performances on multiple stages entertain all ages, as do jousting matches, magicians, jugglers, crafters and of course, giant turkey legs. Huzzah! Weekends thru Oct. 22, 10am-7pm, Crownsville festival grounds, $25 w/discounts: www.rennfest.com.
 
41 Shudder at the Sounds of the Season
The Halloween/All Saints concert at the U.S. Naval Academy features organist Monte Maxwell, dancers and special effects. Oct. 27-28, 8pm. USNA Chapel, $36 w/discounts, rsvp: www.navyperforms.showare.com.
 
42 Costume Your Dog
Hound of the Town: Calvert dogs dress up for a parade and costume judging. Oct. 28, noon-2pm, North Beach Boardwalk, $7 w/advance discounts; benefits Calvert Animal Welfare League: 301-855-6681; www.northbeach.org.
Howl-O-Ween Barkin Bash: Anne Arundel dogs endure costumes to win contests; human companions enjoy demos, food, raffles and socializing. Oct. 28, 11am-3pm, Quiet Waters Park, Annapolis, free: 410-222-1777.
 
43 Escape the Zombie Horde
It’s an epidemic invasion as the living dead take over Kinder Park. Will you escape the brain-eaters as they stalk you along the 5K trail? Can you reach the Drop Dead Zone without becoming infected with the zombie virus? Oct. 28, zombie registration 8:30am, runner registration 9am, run 10am-noon, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville, zombies $20, runners $50 w/discounts: http://bit.ly/KinderZombieRun2017.
 
44 Survive the Ghosts of Sotterley 
The 19th annual Ghosts of Sotterley is a fully acted celebration of the spooky. Oct. 20-21, 26-28, 7-10:30pm, Historic Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, $15, rsvp: www.sotterleyplantation.com.
 
45 Trick and Treat in the Garden
Dress the family for trick-or-treating on the wooded garden path, where costumed spirits hand out candy or treats. Plus art activities, food and drink. Oct. 28, 11am-4pm, Annmarie Garden, Solomons, $2 to benefit local charities: www.annmariegardens.org.
 
46 Historic Annapolis by Candlelight
A crisp autumn evening is the perfect time to walk through Annapolis’ historic neighborhoods, and it’s even better when the doors to some of these magnificent homes are open for you to step inside. See how 21st century Annapolitans care for and live in buildings from the 18th, 19th and 20th century. Nov. 3-4, 5-9pm, Historic Annapolis, $40 w/discounts, rsvp: www.annapolis.org.
 
47 Eastport-Annapolis Tug of War XX 
Watch or lend a hand in the world’s longest International Tug of War  over water — 1,700 feet — in the continuing rivalry between the Maritime Republic of Eastport and Annapolis. Nov. 4, 10am to join a team; festivities follow at City Dock and Chart House Restaurant. Tug heats start at the crack of noon on either side of Spa Creek Bridge: $25 to tug, free to cheer: themre.org.
 
48 (Red White and) Blue Tie Bountiful Harvest
Join The Friends of The Light House in contributing to end homelessness among veterans in Anne Arundel County. Food by local chefs and caterers, including The Light House’s own skills-developing enterprise, The Light House Bistro, and open bar, plus music and life and silent auctions. Wear red and white in addition to the traditional blue tie (or gown) in honor of Veterans Day. Nov. 10, 7-10pm, Loews Annapolis Hotel. $100-$150, rsvp: www.friendslhs.org.
 
49 Honor a Veteran
Celebrate those who serve or have served in the military. On Nov. 11, the original Armistice Day, join traditional Veterans Day ceremonies at the Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville and the World War II Memorial on Route 450 overlooking the U.S. Naval Academy Bridge and Severn River. Head to St. Mary’s County for one of our state’s largest parades (10am, Leonardtown), followed by a memorial wreath-laying ceremony.
 
50 Run for Fun and ­Fitness
Race for good causes to win prizes, bragging rights and justify your share of Halloween candy, Thanksgiving stuffing and pies.
Friends of the Poor 5K Run/Walk: Support the St. Katherine Drexel Conference and The St. Vincent Depaul Society run by Jesus the Divine Word parishioners to help families with housing, food and utility needs. Oct. 7, 8am, Calverton School, Huntingtown, $25, rsvp: 443-684-9261.
AACC Turkey Trot-Run 5K (and one-mile jaunt). Benefits AACC’s fitness scholarship. Bring canned goods for charity. Nov. 23, registration 10:30am, runs at noon. Siegert Field, AACC, Arnold, $25 5K; $20 one-mile w/discounts: aacc.edu/healthfitness/turkeytrot.cfm.
Join Project Echo’s 6th annual 5K Run/Walk, to support the 24/7 transitional and emergency shelter in Prince Frederick. Nov. 23, registration 6am, trot 7am. Prince Frederick, $35 w/discounts: 5kturkeytrot.vpweb.com.
Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K: Families run or walk with the Greater Annapolis Y thru the AACC campus. Dogs welcome ($15). Nov. 23, registration 7:30am, race 8:30am, AACC West Campus Drive, Arnold: $35 w/discounts; rsvp: ymdturkeytrot.org/p/arnold.html.
Work up an appetite at Camp Letts’ 18th annual Turkey Chase, which helps send kids to summer camp. Nov. 23, registration 7:30am, 10K race 9am, 5K walk 10:15am. Camp Letts Rd., Edgewater, $35-$40: campletts.org.
Jug Bay Post Turkey Perambulation: Run 5K to benefit Recreation Deeds for Special Needs. Nov. 25, registration 8:30am, race 9:30am, Glendening Preserve, Lothian. $25 w/age discounts: www.jugbay.org.

Spring’s sirens are sounding

The chirping call of spring peepers, Pseudacris crucifer, is my favorite sound of spring. Perhaps it was my upbringing in swampy Louisiana that draws me to frog songs. I often find myself rolling down the windows as I drive home along Muddy Creek Road in southern Anne Arundel County to catch a wave of springtime from the marshes and wetlands along the road.
    The chorus of these tiny frogs is one of our first harbingers of warmer temperatures and longer days. You’ll hear them long before spring’s official arrival.
    “It’s that time of the year, getting a little warmer,” says DNR’s Glenn Therres. “We heard them a couple of weeks ago. Then the cold front quieted them down. Now they’re itching to jump out and start singing.”
    Peepers spend the winter in hibernation, to the point of being frozen alive. Surprisingly, they can survive up to a week after being frozen. Their blood contains a biological antifreeze that prevents immediate death. Peepers emerge from hibernation once temperatures being their annual rise.
    The song we hear is the males’ inflating their vocal sacs to attract the ladies. Biologists think the females prefer the loudest singers. Their calls have been compared to a refrain of sleigh bells, and that’s music to my ears.
    While they are easy to hear, I can’t recall seeing a spring peeper. Trying to sneak up on one is near impossible as this species is primed to jump for its life.
    These high-pitched amphibians are tiny brownish-yellow, olive or gray frogs with a dark X on their back. They are also small; one can fit on a fingertip.
    “Listen and look for them in shallow-water ponds without fish; otherwise tadpoles become fish bait,” Therres advises. “They show up in wet depressions in woods and fields, sediment ponds, in almost any shallow body of water that persists for a couple of months.”
    After Romeo has wooed his Juliet, tadpoles emerge in two to three weeks, meaning more peepers to sing us into next spring.
    They are probably Maryland’s most common frog species, Therres says, “and definitely the most vocal.”

Check out Calvert Marine Museum’s new otter and otter cam

They are otterly adorable. The two North American river otters, 14-year-old Chumley (aka Squeak) and year-old Chessie-Grace (aka Bubbles), love to romp and play throughout their habitat at the Calvert Marine Museum. Now you can see what’s going on behind the scenes in their indoor habitat when you can’t see these furry mammals in-person.
    A newly installed otter cam lets you experience remotely what’s up with these museum favorites seven days a week. Log in to get a peak: http://www.calvertmarinemuseum.com/375/River-Otter-Live-Cam.
    “Visiting in-person is always best, as the new lodging area includes a feeding panel that allows guests to get face-to-face with the otters while they dine,” says Dave Moyer, curator of Estuarine Biology. “When you need to get your otter fix, remember a great time to view the cam is during feeding times.”
    The indoor holding area where the otters reside has been updated with new nesting dens, play yards, an infinity pool and LED lighting.
    Plus a newly rescued otter from Louisiana has joined the exhibit.
    “He was extricated from an aquaculture pond,” Moyer explains. “On a fish farm, it is bad for business to have otters eating all your profits.”
    After acclimating and getting a clean bill of health from the museum veterinarian, What’s His Name may join Chumley and Chessie-Grace.
    “It will depend on the animals as to whether he stays separated,” Moyer says. “Personalities and social dynamics play huge roles.”
    Chumley, also rescued as a pup, came to the museum via Clearwater Aquarium in Florida. Chessie-Grace was hand-raised and bottle-fed after her mother failed to care for her pups.
    Guess the newcomer’s name and win a one-hour behind-the-scenes tour with the otters and animal care staff.
    Otter Name Game clues appear each Wednesday at noon on the Otter Cam website and the museum’s Facebook page.

New loggerhead hatchling joins National Aquarium

A baby loggerhead turtle will be celebrating her first Christmas at home at the National Aquarium. Named in honor of Baltimore’s beloved NFL football team and as a nod to the unique dark birthmarks on her face, Raven will be swimming in the Maryland: Mountains to the Sea gallery in the new year.
    Until she is large enough to be released back into the Atlantic off the coast of North Carolina, Raven will receive lots of TLC from the Aquarium’s animal healh and welfare team. The rescue program, celebrating its 25th anniversary, rehabilitates patients for release into warmer waters in the spring and summer.
    Weighing just 91 grams and measuring four inches from head to tail when she arrived, Raven spent several weeks behind the scenes acclimating to the new environment and undergoing full monitoring.
    Raven is one of many hatchlings rescued so far from the ocean and rehabilitated through the Sea Turtle Awareness Program, founded by the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. The National Aquarium, which has participated in the program since 2004, is one of many institutions around the country helping these hatchlings return to the wild in good health.
    Sheldon, the Aquarium’s 2015 Head Start rescue, recently finished his year of residence and was released in October.
     Endangered in the wild, loggerhead turtles face many threats, including predation of their sandy nests by shore birds and entrapment in fishing nets. If they survive their first year, loggerheads can grow to be the largest of all hard-shelled sea turtles. As such, they play a part in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems.
     This is a busy season for the National Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program as animals are affected by quickly cooling waters in the Atlantic as well other traumas like boat strikes.

Our best family night at the theater — ever

Anight at the theater — or anywhere, for that matter — is always an adventure when you have children in tow. A few weeks ago, our family of four attended a musical production in Baltimore that left me wondering if I had made a big mistake thinking my sons would enjoy the theater.
    Dad slept through the whole thing, the younger said there was too much singing, and the elder commented all the way through, despite my insistent hushing.
    So when we were invited to see Twin Beach Players’ holiday production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in North Beach, I was hesitant.
    Turns out I had no reason to worry. This was a performance crafted especially for the younger set.
    The boys began way more interested in the snack selection than the production to come. But once we were seated in our second row spots (they thought being so close to the stage was super-cool), their eyes were glued to the action.
    That revolves around a typical small-town Protestant church recreation of the nativity, complete with baby angels, shepherds in bathrobes and Mary and Joseph at the manger. This particular church, however, gets shaken to its core by the arrival of the Herdman children, a group of juvenile delinquents who terrorize and bully everyone they meet.
    The boys noted that it was “very meta. A Christmas play about a Christmas play.”
    They enjoyed watching the kid actors running around the stage during a faux fire in a type of Freleng Door Gag.
     “It was pretty nice,” says Jonah, the 12-year-old. “My favorite part was all the Herdmans — those are the naughty kids — discussing how they are going to change the church’s Christmas pageant. I can’t believe what they wanted the Wise Men to bring to the baby Jesus.”
    The entire cast did a delightful job bringing this hilarious story to life.
    I totally related to the stressed-out mom, Mrs. Bradley, played by Terri McKinstry, who is stretched thin trying to wrangle this production into something just short of organized chaos. Then I remembered … I was Mrs. Bradley! During my high school years, I portrayed this very woman in our own church performance of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I wore my mom’s corduroy jumper in that role. McKinstry was much more believable in the role.
    Elle VanBuskirk, playing the lead role of Beth Bradley, was composed, engaging and quite professional. It wasn’t till the show was almost over (a speedy two hours with one intermission) that we realized that the remarkable actress portraying the manipulative and cunning Imogene Herdman was VanBuskirk’s sister Emma. These two actresses were standout performers; we expect to see them in lead roles in many future shows.
    Son Jordan, eight, had his own favorite. “The girl who plays Gladys (Melly Byram) stole the show,” he says.
    He gave the production a hearty thumbs-up, his favorite ranking system.
    “I give it 4.8 stars,” he said. “I think people of all ages should see it, but it was very funny and especially good for children. And they should call it Revenge at Bethlehem, like the Herdmans suggested.”
    Jordan was also happy that there was very little singing … until the end, when he glared at me as the cast sang Christmas carols. I had promised him it was not a musical.
    “I gave it 4.5 stars,” Jonah said. “It was a little slow in parts but it was pretty good overall. It made me feel like I should look at people a bit differently in the future. We shouldn’t judge kids who act bad or are messy.”
    Thanks, Twin Beach Players, for opening his eyes — and for showing me that there is plenty of room in the theater for kids.


Fri. Dec. 2 & Sat. Dec. 3 7pm; Sun. Dec. 4, 3pm, Boys and Girls Club, North Beach, $15 w/discounts, rsvp: ­www.twinbeachplayers.com.

Beauty of the sky a beast in the water

Dragonflies zoom and hover in the August air.
    These acrobatic fliers older than dinosaurs have populated the earth for more than 300 million years. They spend just a few months performing aerial feats of wonder after emerging from an underwater childhood lasting as long as four years.
    Female dragonflies lay their eggs in fresh water; the presence of dragonfly nymphs is an indicator of good water quality. The nymph looks nothing like the pretty fliers we love. It resembles an alien with large protruding jaws and segmented legs with claws.
    In air or water, dragonflies are merciless predators.
    As aquatic insects, they use their unique lower lip to engulf prey, even small fish. The lip’s elbow-like hinge allows it to bend so that the nymph can hold its prey while also holding fast to the stream bottom.
    The mature nymph swims to the surface, anchoring to a stem or root before metamorphosis. Unlike moths and butterflies, they need no cocoon in this stage.
    The transformed dragonfly is omnivorous, eating almost any other insect it can get its legs on, including other dragonflies and large butterflies as well as mosquitos.
    Maryland’s seven varieties are now buzzing around meadows and fields at an astonishing rate. ­Estimated to fly at speeds of 19 to 38 miles an hour, they are among the world’s fastest insects.
    From year to year, we may see any of the seven, from common blue dashers to green darners to dragon hunters. “Locally, some areas may show annual changes in the numbers of individuals within a specific species,” says Richard Orr, a state entomologist.
    The arrival of dragonflies coincides with blossoming corn, giving these insects a place in the mythology of native peoples. The Zuni tribe believes dragonflies bring blessings for fertile corn crops. The Hopi believe that dragonflies have the power to restore a poor corn crop and that their song warns of nearby danger. The Swiss believe that dragonflies came to earth to judge and retrieve bad souls. In Japan, dragonflies signify success in battle, and warriors adorned themselves with images of the insect to bring good fortune.
    While their time in the air may be brief, these winged warriors will make the most of the vanishing days of summer.

Summer sends these insects singing

Heat wave temperatures may not have us humans singing for the joy of life, but that’s not the case for several insect species that voice their appreciation of the heat this time of year.
    Late summer’s exceptionally warm days drive the cicadas (also called harvest flies) to start their singing early. The buzzing is the quintessential sound of summer and how this cicada earned its name. The hot and humid days of late July and August draw the males into the treetops to vibrate a drum-like abdominal membrane called a tymbal to call potential mates to their location.
    These black and green dog-day cicadas differ from the giant 13- and 17-year broods that emerge out of the ground by the billions every few years. The Brood V 17-year cicadas emerged this spring in Western Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Our portion of Chesapeake Country missed them.
    Periodical cicadas survive by sheer numbers, while the annual dog-day cicadas rely on camouflage and speed to avoid predation. They are a favorite snack for birds, snakes and the cicada-killer wasp.
    After mating, the female dog-day uses her ovipositor to cut open a twig and lay eggs inside. Six weeks later, the nymphs hatch and burrow into the ground where they will live for three years, sucking juice from tree roots.
    It’s summer’s musical finale, so enjoy it.

But which butterfly is which?

Who’s that flittering around your summer garden? Most likely it’s a swallowtail butterfly.
    The swallowtail family includes more than 550 species, flourishing on every continent except Antarctica.
    Among North American swallowtails, a familiar sight is the large black butterfly with yellow spots and some blue and orange scales. That’s (Papilio polyxenes), the Eastern black or American swallowtail. Named after the mythological figure Polyxena —youngest daughter of King Priam of Troy — this winged beauty enjoys Queen Anne’s lace and the herb rue. Its caterpillar is called the parsley worm because of its love of the herb.
    Eurytides marcellus, the zebra swallowtail, is noticeable for its distinct zebra-striped black and white wings. The late-summer broods have long delicate tails; look close and you may see a red stripe in the hindwing. Look for them dancing around pawpaw trees this time of year.
    The familiar Eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus (shown above), is the handsome black and yellow fellow gracing your neighborhood. Females have an extra dash of blue scaling on their wings. You may even see them puddling, congregating on a patch of mud to draw nutrients and minerals from the ground. In 2013, Chesapeake Country saw a surge in their numbers.
    “Every few years, we consistently see a rebounding of swallowtail butterflies,” says Elmer Dengler of Bowie.
    He suspects the plentiful tulip poplar and cherry trees contribute to the robust swallowtail population.
    “These trees are the preferred food sources for swallowtail caterpillars. They do well when their food sources do well,” Dengler says.
    Concerted efforts to plant native species in our gardens have helped take a bit of pressure off all species of butterflies, although Dengler says he still hasn’t seen monarch numbers rise as much as he’d like.
    “We need to continue to spread the message that diversity in your lawn and garden contributes to diversity in butterfly populations,” he said.
    Take note of who’s visiting your flower patch, and be on the lookout for monarch caterpillars and chrysalises among the milkweed. They will be emerging soon to continue their northern migration and won’t hang around very long.

Find out at Calvert Marine ­Museum’s Sharkfest

Millions of years ago, long before there was a Chesapeake Bay, sharks thrived in the saltwater marine environment of the flooded river we now call Susquehanna. Big sharks that could have swallowed a man whole, had any men or women been around to be eaten.
    The megalodon, ancestor of the great white shark, was the apex marine predator of those waters. Rivaling today’s blue whale, the megalodon grew up to 50 feet long.
    He’s long gone, but his kin are still with us.
    Perhaps a dozen kinds of sharks visit the Chesapeake. Atlantic mako sharks, sand and sandbar or brown sharks, hammerheads, bonnetheads, dusky, sharp-nosed, smooth and spiny dogfish sharks, chain catsharks. And bull sharks.
    “Bull sharks are one of the notorious sharks we need to watch out for,” says David Moyer, curator of estuarine biology at Calvert Marine Museum. “They’re the inspiration species for Jaws. They come all the way up into fresh water. That story came out of a whole lot of real-life shark attacks over a short period of time in fresh waters in New Jersey.”
    At Calvert Marine Museum’s Sharkfest on Saturday, July 9, you’ll learn all that and more.
    “The annual festival is the museum’s way to teach people that sharks are not the enemy and without them the entire ocean ecosystem would collapse,” explains museum educator Mindy Quinn. “Humans kill sharks at the rate of about 11,415 per hour.”
    At Sharkfest, you’ll meet the musuem’s resident chain dogfish, all about a foot long. Their better name, says their keeper Moyer, “is chain catsharks, for their eyes have slit-like pupils like a cat’s.”
    That adaptation may be because they live in deep waters without natural sunlight. They also luminesce, perhaps for the same reason, or perhaps to attract food or their own kind or to discourage predation.
    Also on hand this year is a horn shark from the north Pacific, a shark that creeps along the bottom rather than swims.
    You’ll see shark cousins, clearnose skates and cownose rays. Like the catsharks, rays are regular visitors throughout the Chesapeake. Skates, which prefer the saltier water of the lower Bay, are a specialty of the museum, which breeds the flat fish to share with other museums and aquariums.
     Also visiting are another shark cousin and Chesapeake Bay native, the Atlantic sturgeon, an endangered species being bred by GenOn Aquaculture in Virginia for reintroduction to the upper Potomac River.
    The scariest shark at Sharkfest is the full-sized megalodon, a 50-foot-long behemoth model created at the museum 15 years ago to put the past in chilling perspective.
    The biggest draw is the chance to touch the live sharks.
    The most fun is sliding down the jaws of a giant inflated shark.

SharkFest: Sat., July 9, 10am-5pm, Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, $9; www.calvertmarinemuseum.com.

After rescue and recuperation, turtles released on World Sea ­Turtle Day

After seven months of swimming circles doing rehab in the pools at the National Aquarium, two juvenile green sea turtles have returned to the open wilds of the ocean, stronger and healthier.
    The duo swam into the waters off Assateague Island National Seashore on June 16. The date marked World Sea Turtle Day and coincided with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Turtle Week as well as the National Park Service’s centennial and the Aquarium’s Animal Care Center’s 25th anniversary.
    Hardhead and Beachcomber (all of the patients get nicknames) came to the center in November 2015. Hardhead was rescued on the coast of Delaware and transferred to the aquarium for long-term rehabilitation. He arrived with a low body temperature, broken ribs and a torn lung, which left him unable to swim.
    Beachcomber suffered a rare blood infection and kidney problems after being stranded along the coast of Cape Cod. Thanks to a round of antibiotics and assisted feeding, he has returned to eating on his own and is healthy enough to return to his natural habitat.
    “The triumph of returning a healthy animal to the wild is the reason we have such a devoted Animal Rescue team,” says Aquarium Rescue program manager Jennifer Dittmar. “The program is successful today with the help of our staff, volunteers and the good Samaritans who call in tips.”
    Ten rehabbed Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles from the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and National Marine Life Center animal rescue programs were also released. These turtles were among some 200 cold-stunned turtles that washed up on Cape Cod beaches this winter.
    Since 1991, the National Aquarium team has successfully rescued, treated and returned more than 160 animals to their natural habitats, primarily along the Maryland coastline.
    “Our sea turtle stranding and entanglement network partners improve the survival of not just these individual animals,” says NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Dave Gouveia. “They are making a big difference in the recovery of these threatened and endangered species as a whole, and to our understanding of the threats these species face.”