Plans for Beer Fest brewing at Historic St. Mary's City

Friday, Feb. 25, 2011

Historic St. Mary's City Foundation is seeking out microbrewers far and wide and other vendors closer to home as it gets ready to host its inaugural Beer Fest on May 22, to benefit Historic St. Mary's City.

The Ruddy Duck Brewery & Grill in Solomons makes its own beer, but that's the only commercial microbrewer in the immediate area, according to Susan Erichsen, the foundation's director of development. The search has expanded to find more of them. "We're hoping to get them throughout the region," Erichsen said. "There are quite a few in the state."

The event also will feature tours of the Van Sweringen's Ordinary tavern, musical performances by GeeZer and the 25th Hour Band, and vendors selling equipment for home brewing.

"Hopefully, they'll have some displays with what they do," Erichsen said.

An invitation also has been extended to crafters, artists and artisans to participate. There will be no fee charged to the vendors taking part in the noon to 6 p.m. event, which will serve as a fundraiser to help support the museum's educational programs and historical research. Call 240-895-4977.

March for Babies kickoff set Tuesday

The kickoff for this year's St. Mary's County March for Babies will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. next Tuesday, March 1, at Panera Bread in California, and the public is invited to drop by to learn more about March for Babies and to collect supplies for the event.

Panera Bread will donate 10 percent of all sales to the March of Dimes.

Joan Gelrud, vice president of St. Mary's Hospital, will serve as the 2011 St. Mary's County revenue chair for March for Babies, the March of Dimes' biggest fundraiser, which will take place April 30 on Leonardtown's town square.

The March for Babies walk helps fund research and educational programs aimed at helping moms have healthy babies. Gelrud will lead this year's local campaign to raise awareness and funding to assist babies who are born prematurely or with birth defects.

Last year, the St. Mary's County event raised more than $82,000. Gelrud is requesting support from local businesses. Participants in the march can sign up at and start a team with co-workers, family or friends. More than 400 people attended last year's event.

For more information on the local program, go online to

Greenwell's nature time starts next week

The weekly sessions of Nature Time at Greenwell State Park in Hollywood resume at 10 a.m. next Wednesday, March 2, kicking off a new season of games, crafts, stories, movement and exploration. Nature Time is for young children and their families or caregivers. Preregister at least a day ahead by sending e-mail to or calling 301-373-9775. For more information, go online to

Sheriff's academy class starts next week

The spring 2011 St. Mary's sheriff's office Citizens Academy will give participants an inside look into the agency's day-to-day operations. Sessions will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday nights for a seven-week period, beginning March 3 and continuing through April 14.

Applicants must be at least 18 and submit an application. To register for the academy, call Kelly Castle at 301-475-4200, ext. 1910, send e-mail to or apply online at

Applications for grape grants due March 4

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission is offering grants to farms to aid in the purchase of wine grape vines. The Growing Grapes for Wine Program was established to encourage and support the development of a competitive wine industry in Southern Maryland.

The grant program requires matching funds supplied by the farm owner for the purchase of grape vines of recommended varieties compatible with the region. The University of Maryland Extension Service will provide ongoing training and production expertise.

Grant applications are due Friday, March 4. To download the grant application and program guidelines, go online to or call 301-274-1922, ext. 1.

Rescue squad to host March 5 yard sale

Donations are being sought for a yard sale that the Mechanicsville Volunteer Rescue Squad Auxiliary will hold from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 5, at the squad building.

Items can be dropped off at the squad building, or call 301-884-4108 to arrange for a donation to be picked up. The event's organizers have requested that no exercise equipment, televisions or large sofas be donated.

Sheriff recruits help on anniversary book

The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office was established in 1637, and describes itself as "America's First" by being the oldest and continuously operational one in the nation, with a 375th anniversary coming next year.

To honor that milestone, Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron (R) has named a volunteer committee to research and record the agency's history in a commemorative book that will include photographs, illustrations, artifacts, articles, newspaper clippings and interviews.

"It will touch upon each century of the office's existence, and include information regarding traditional sheriff's duties and responsibilities, the impact of historical events on those duties, the development and implementation of law enforcement equipment used by deputies and correctional officers, and a pictorial evolution of the [agency's] badges and patches," sheriff's office spokesperson Cindy Allen reports.

Cameron plans to develop a historical exhibit of sheriff's office-related artifacts to display at various locations during the 2012 anniversary year. The sheriff expects that much of the historical data is the property of county residents, and he has invited anyone who wishes to take part by contributing photographs, illustrations and artifacts and participating in the development of the book and the historical exhibit.

For more information, send e-mail to Allen at or call her at 301-475-4200, ext. 9113.

Entries sought for Juneteenth poster

St. Mary's middle school and high school students are invited to take part in a poster contest for the Juneteenth Festival 2011, presented by the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions of St. Mary's County Inc. The posters should be 12 inches by 15 inches in size, and reflect the theme of what the scene might have looked like in Galveston, Texas, in June 1865 when U.S. Gen. Gordon Granger announced, "All people that are slaves are free." The back of each entry should include the student's name, school, grade, sponsoring teacher's name and student's telephone number.

The contest entry period began this month and will continue until May 1. Posters should be sent by the student's sponsoring teacher to Regina Greely, department of instruction. The contest is open to private and parochial school students, and gift certificates will be awarded to the top three middle school students and top three high school contestants. First-place winners will have their posters displayed in the event's souvenir program booklet.

All winners will be awarded their prizes at the Juneteenth Festival 2011 to be held June 18 in Lexington Park. For more information, send e-mail to