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Take some time to visit the Hospice of St. Mary’s Festival of Trees on Dec. 1 at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown, and you can stroll through a holiday display and view a couple dozen beautifully decorated Christmas trees. It’s a chance to get some decorating ideas for your own tree at home or bid for your favorite tree in the event’s auction.

“Also, there will be wreaths and tabletop trees” decorated and for sale, Nancy Glockner, team lead for the festival, said Friday.

The event will also feature live music and dancers, children’s activities and a chance to visit with Santa. There will be doughnuts with Santa from 10 a.m. to noon and cookies with Santa from 2 to 4 p.m.

Food will be available from two caterers and there will be more than 30 vendors for those who want to do a little gift shopping as well as get a leg up on their holiday decorating.

But even with all that, there’s another reason to attend the Festival of Trees. It is a fundraiser for Hospice of St. Mary’s.

Hospice is committed to assisting people and their families at the end of life and the months leading up to someone’s death. “We care for people whether they can pay [for the service] or not,” Glockner said. And events like the Festival of Trees help fund those services and offset patient costs.

Glockner said there is still time for individuals, organizations or businesses that would like to get involved. “We will still take people up to Nov. 23,” she said. “We provide the tree and they can either sponsor and decorate or just sponsor the tree.”

This year’s Festival of Trees will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, $1 for ages 4 to 12 and free for those 3 and younger. For more information, call the hospice office at 301-994-3023 or visit www.hospiceofstmarys.org.

Church invites the community to dinner

Thanksgiving dinner will be hosted by Church of the Ascension at 21641 Great Mills Road in Lexington Park on Thursday, Nov. 22, from noon to 3 p.m. All are welcome to this family dinner. There is no charge. For more information, call 301-863-8551.

Sandy relief effort continues

The Lexington Park Rotary Club has announced that it and other Rotary clubs in its district will continue their collection of donations for people affected by Hurricane Sandy at least through the second week of December.

Items needed include bottled water, nonperishable foods, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, storage containers, grooming supplies, radios, batteries, non-electric toys, generators and heaters. In addition, Rotary is accepting donations of new clothing and new bedding items, including underwear, socks, coats, sweatpants, sweatshirts, sweaters, blankets, towels, mattresses, beds, linens and pillows.

These items can be left during working hours at Patuxent River Naval Aviation Museum next to Gate 1 of Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Items that are similar should be left in plastic bags and labeled to protect them during transit and to aid in the logistics chain.

Rotary members will make arrangements to transport donated items to New York and New Jersey.

In addition, financial donations are also being accepted to assist victims. Checks marked for “Sandy Devastation Support” can be made out to Rotary District 7620 Project Trust Fund and mailed to the Rotary District 7620 Project Trust Fund, 4064 Lomar Drive, Mount Airy, MD 21771.

To get a toy

Area residents can benefit from the Toys for Tots campaign this year in a couple of ways. Current clients of the St. Mary’s County Department of Social Services will be referred to the county’s Christmas Caring program, which is assisted by Toys for Tots and other local organizations.

Other parents who are interested in receiving assistance from Toys for Tots can visit www.toysfortots, select “Maryland,” then “St. Mary’s” and click on the Family Toy Request Form. Complete and submit the form to request participation.

For those who want to donate toys toward the effort this year, Marines and Toys for Tots volunteers will be accepting new, unwrapped toys at Walmart, Kmart and Dress Barn on Nov. 23 and 24 and Dec. 1 and 8. There are also drop-box donation sites throughout the county.

Historic site announces its holiday happenings

Christmas Comes to St. Mary’s takes place over the first three weekends of December Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1 and 2; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16) at Historic St. Mary’s City. Entertainment may include wassail, storytelling, music and puppet shows. There will be carols, blazing fires, hearth cooking and crafts to take home.

A guided tour of holiday traditions will be offered each of these days at 1 p.m. and Saturdays bring community choruses to the Brick Chapel for a holiday concert.

Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $6 for students and free for those 5 or younger and Friends of Historic St. Mary’s City.

Visit www.stmaryscity.org to get details on this and other holiday events, like the annual free concert and open house on Dec. 5, the evergreen arrangements workshop on Dec. 15 and the 42nd year of Holiday Madrigal Dinners, taking place during the first three weekends in December. For more information, call 240-895-4990, or email info@stmaryscity.org.

Watoto Children’s Choir to present two concerts

They have performed at Buckingham Palace and the White House and will also perform in St. Mary’s County.

The Watoto Children’s Choir will perform at St. Mary’s Ryken on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Romuald Hall Theater at the school in Leonardtown. This event, sponsored by the school and the Knights of Columbus, is free and open to the public. While there is no charge to attend the performance, donations are welcome.

The choir will perform again on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Town Creek.

The Watoto Children’s Choirs have travelled internationally since 1994 as advocates for the estimated 50 million children in Africa, orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS, war, poverty and disease. Accompanied by a team of adults, the choir presents Watoto’s vision and mission through stories, music and dance. To hear their music and learn more about their cause go to www.watoto.com.

Check out new COSMOS content

A new service has been purchased by the Southern Maryland Regional Library to provide additional content to COSMOS, the online library catalog used by the three county public library systems in Southern Maryland.

COSMOS is an online service of the regional library that allows users to find library materials by author, title, subject or category. It contains the records for all library materials, and now provides direct links to reader ratings and reviews; lists books in a series and recommends related books; suggest new titles, authors and series; lists awards and offers related articles.

It also provides access to free e-newsletters called “NextReads,” which contain book recommendations by more than 20 topics, such as mystery, romance, biographies, travel, etc.

The additional information appears under individual search results within a pull-down option called “Novelist Content.” To access the information in NoveList Content go to www.cosmos.somd.lib.md.us or look for the COSMOS link at www.stmalib.org.

Braun named member of association

Annette Braun of Mechanicsville is a new junior member of the American Angus Association. Junior members of the association are eligible to register cattle in the American Angus Association, participate in programs conducted by the National Junior Angus Association and take part in association-sponsored shows and other national and regional events. The American Angus Association has more than 25,000 active adult and junior members.

Exhibit, blog about slavery at St. Mary’s City available online

Although most people think of 17th-century archaeology when they think of St. Mary’s City, the historic site’s space contains many stories from later eras. One is the 19th-century story of slavery and freedom at a large slave plantation. This story is being told on a digital exhibit and blog, All of Us Will Walk Together at www.stmaryscity.org/walktogether, published by Michigan State University doctoral candidate Terry Peterkin Brock.

Brock is studying the lives of the slaves and tenant farmers who lived at the St. Mary’s Manor Plantation, which stood in what once was the heart of St. Mary’s City. Brock traces these African-American laborers from the erection of the slave quarters in 1840, through the Civil War and into the post-slavery era, when they lived and worked as tenant farmers. One building, a duplex quarter, continued to serve as a tenant home until 1950. St. Mary s City is in the process of turning this structure into an exhibit through funding from the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust. The digital exhibit and blog will include a discussion of the process.

Visit All of Us Will Walk Together to see the findings of Brock’s research and learn about how researchers use archaeology, history and preservation to discover the African-American past. The website and blog are designed for audience participation and visitors to the site are encouraged to comment and ask questions on the site and learn how to participate by sharing their own stories, see if they are a descendant of those who lived on the plantation or help to preserve the duplex quarter.

Sotterley invites residents to adopt a tree

Restoration efforts have been ongoing for more than a year since Hurricane Irene, and Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood is ready to begin the next phase of growth through the Adopt-A-Tree Program.

Initially, donations are being accepted to cover the costs of 16 trees that will be located within the historic core, but additional plantings are planned for all over the site. Individuals or organizations may choose to either adopt an entire tree, or they can make a donation of any size to the tree fund.

During last year’s hurricane, more than 170 trees were downed, some dangerously close to the 1703 Plantation House, the original 1830s Slave Cabin and other outbuildings. As a precautionary measure, the Sotterley Landscape Committee opted for the removal of the remaining two trees that loomed over the rooftop of the Plantation House.

All donations will be entered into a special journal that will become a permanent part of Sotterley’s archives.

Donations can be made out to Historic Sotterley Inc., with “Adopt a Tree Fund” in the check’s memo line. To donate by credit card or to learn more about the planting plan details, call 301-373-2280 during regular business hours.

Teen texting to be celebrated in upcoming exhibit

Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center invites teens, aged 13 to 18, to submit works for an upcoming exhibition that will be on display from March 15 to July 28.

Text Message will showcase the talent, creativity and perspective of teen culture. Whether through visual artwork, creative writing or performing arts, this exhibit will convey what it means to be a teen in the world today.

All submissions must be received by 5 p.m. on Jan. 18 and include a text or a message in the body of the work. Individual or group submissions are welcome, including electronic, painting, literary, photography, sculpture and performance. Cash awards will be presented in several categories/age brackets. For more information, visit www.annmariegarden.org or call 410-326-4640.

scraton@somdnews.com