Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

Come one, come all to the Damascus Community Fair

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Photo courtesy of Mike Shaffer
Mike Shaffer, president of the Hyattstown Mill Arts Project, recently restored the sculpture "Homage to An Era" at the MARC train station in Germantown. The work, dedicated in 1990, resembles a late-1800s farm tractor and honors early farming and farm machinery indigenous to the area.

The county fair is over, but don't pack away your best sewing project or fruit preserves just yet – the Damascus Community Fair is coming Sept. 5-7.

The fair board is gearing up for another fun-filled weekend of celebrating the agricultural heritage of Damascus.

"This year will mark the 63rd year for the fair and we are setting our sites on making it the best one yet," fair board member Beth Woodley Riley wrote in an e-mail to The Gazette.

Get ready to enter your fruits and vegetables, field crops, flowers and plants, fine arts, handcrafts, woodworking, photography, baked goods and candies, sewing, needlework, computer technology, livestock, fowl, rabbits and guinea pigs, electricity and small engines, and educational crafts.

Entries will be accepted 4-8 p.m. Sept.4 at the Damascus Volunteer Fire Department Activity Center, 10211 Lewis Drive.

"In addition to the exhibits, we have a variety of fun activities, including veggie races, pedal tractor pulls and moonbounces, just to name a few," Riley wrote.

Friday night will feature an ice cream-making and karaoke contests. Saturday will be filled with monster truck rides, pet show (no cats, please), hayrides, a sheep dog demonstration, and a demonstration of scales and tails. In the evening, the annual livestock and cake auction will be held.

On Sunday, fairgoers can participate in a bicycle-decorating contest, a pet show (no dogs, please) and a children's craft.

For more information, visit or stop by any Damascus businesses to pick up a fair catalog.

Repairs bring new life to sculpture

at Germantown train station

The red sculpture of a late-1800s farm tractor at the Germantown MARC train station was recently restored by Ijamsville artist Mike Shaffer.

His 8-foot-tall work, "Homage to An Era," was dedicated in 1990 and honors early farming and farm machinery that was used in the area at the turn of the 20th century. The steel and metal sculpture stands on a 3-foot-tall pedestal of timbers that resemble railroad ties.

"It was done with the history of the area in mind. Steam tractors were an important part of the later industrial revolution," he said.

"We wanted something that was bright and cheerful and something that people would look at. It's easy to see and it stands out. It gives it a fun quality — a toy quality almost," said Shaffer, president of the board of directors of the Hyattstown Mill Arts Project.

A friend who rides the MARC train from Boyds told him that the sculpture was in need of some care.

"The top was pushed over a little bit, it had started to break and fall apart," Shaffer said. "It wasn't really safe the way it was."

He started working on repairs in May and finished a few weeks ago.

"We'll keep an eye on it and hopefully not let it get in the shape it was before," he said.

The sculpture was funded by the Montgomery County Government and the Germantown Citizens Association. Restoration money was provided by the Public Arts Trust of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, according to a statement from the council.

Groundbreaking for Damascus museum

The community is invited to the groundbreaking of the Damascus Heritage Society Museum Monday at 3 p.m. behind the Damascus Library at the corner of routes 108 and 124.

The heritage society hopes to preserve artifacts, memorabilia and the memories of longtime Damascus families.

For more information call 301-253-1811.

Back-to-school memories

What was it like the first time you (or your children) boarded the school bus and left summer behind? How long did it take you to pick out the perfect back-to-school outfit? Do you have a plan for getting the best deal on school supplies? Tell us about it!

The Gazette wants to hear all your back-to-school memories, from first-day jitters and disasters, to making fast friends with your desk- or office-mate. Montgomery County Public Schools open Aug. 26, so send us your photos and share your memories by Thursday.

Photos and stories will be considered for print and online. E-mail us at or write to The Gaithersburg Gazette, 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877.

Woodfield to hold open house

Woodfield Elementary School will hold a kindergarten open house 10-11 a.m. Monday.

Students in all other grades can meet their teachers at 2 p.m. Kindergarten teachers will not be available in the afternoon.

An open house for families new to Woodfield will be held 1-2 p.m.

The school's annual back to school picnic will be held Sept. 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Belt it out

Auditions for the Potomac Valley Youth Orchestra 2008-09 Concert Season will be Sept.5-8 at Herbert Hoover Middle School, 8810 Post Oak Road in Potomac.

The orchestra welcomes musicians in grades 4-12. Visit for more information.

Items appropriate for People and Places must be received by 9 a.m. Friday for consideration. They can be mailed to The Damascus-Clarksburg Gazette, 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, MD 20877; sent by fax to 301-670-7183; or e-mailed to