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Summer is here. For families with school children, it feels like it began last Friday with the last day of school until August. But according to the calendar, summer officially begins today. Vow to make the best of it this year.

In many households, summer might mean big changes in the daily routines. Vacations have begun, reservations for summer camps have been made, and plans are being made to keep the kids busy and out of trouble. We’re staying up later, spending more time outdoors, looking for ways to enjoy the area. And hopefully taking the opportunity to take in some of the local sights and sounds. There are many entertainment options to enjoy nearby that won’t put a dent in your wallet. Local tourism officials are pushing the “stay-cation.” Some families are on tight budgets these days, and they are discovering that there are many ways to be entertained locally and at less expense.

What’s there to do around here? Plenty.

Back this year are the free concerts offered in La Plata and St. Charles. Both start at 7 p.m. each Friday through the end of the summer. La Plata’s concerts are on the lawn at the town hall. In Waldorf, the concerts are held next to O’Donnell Lake off Smallwood Drive. Bring a lawn chair or just spread out a blanket. A variety of bands and music genres are offered. The schedule lineup often includes many local favorites as well as some new groups to spice things up. Those a little more adventurous can travel to neighboring St. Mary’s and Calvert counties. North Beach, Solomons, Leonardtown and St. Mary’s City all offer musical entertainment throughout the summer, too. The majority of the concerts are free.

What has become a favorite summer activity of many in the past few years is a trip to watch the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs play at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf. The minor league baseball team plays in the Atlantic League; its schedule includes about 70 home games during the regular season. Special events go on at most home games. The team is in town this weekend through June 27, and then they are back July 2 through 7.

The team is in its sixth year, and the boys of summer always are a good bet for some fun on a summer’s evening. The stadium offers a great place to watch a game. Spectators can sit close to the action. Tickets are inexpensive, and an even better way to save money is to bring your own lawn chairs and blankets and sit on the hillside just beyond the outfield fence. There are plenty of activities for children, including a playground and bumper boats. Impressive fireworks displays are offered after the games on Friday and Saturday nights. Remember when the only time you got to see fireworks was on the Fourth of July?

The team also is looking forward to hosting the league’s All-Star activities July 9 and 10. Fifty of the league’s best athletes will be in town. Team officials expect to see record crowds at some of the events associated with the All-Star events. As of this writing, the team is sitting atop its division. It’s shaping up to be a good season for the Blue Crabs, and there’s plenty of time to catch the action and enjoy a night out close to home.