Hometown Holidays shines


Rockville Hometown Holidays 1Children enjoy an inflatable slide at Hometown Holidays. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE

ROCKVILLE – Music echoed through the streets of Town Square and white tents filled the streets with children’s activities for this weekend’s Hometown Holidays event.

The Hometown Holidays event started in the 1980s. The mayor at the time, Doug Duncan, began the tradition to celebrate the city of Rockville and Memorial Day.

“It was a way to celebrate Memorial Day, it was a way to celebrate the City of Rockville and it was to give people an alternative (for) those who didn’t go to the beach something really fun to do in their hometown,” said Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton.

Newton also said this event is the most widely attended and community supported event in the city. She also mentioned the parade on Monday is the largest parade that occurs in Montgomery County.

“We bring people from all over. It’s just a great way to celebrate all that makes Rockville great,” Newton said.


Finding a use for a piece of county history


MPI 5300The Bethesda Community Store. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

BETHESDA – An investor is looking for a new tenant to lease the property where the Bethesda Community Store has been located for more than 80 years. 

Stan Smith said he has owned the property for about three years. He said he plans to construction an addition to the building on the property and add a basement.

The Montgomery County Historic Association granted permission for the two changes to be added to Bethesda Community Store before he purchased the lease from the Harbor Bank of Maryland in Baltimore. 

The store and its accompanying BCS Barbecue closed last week because manager Arnie Fainman decided he did not want to renew his lease, Smith said.


Gaithersburg book fest draws huge crowds despite rain

Gburg Book FestivalThousands braved the rain to attend the seventh annual Gaithersburg Book Festival. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

GAITHERSBURG – While organizers agreed Saturday’s inclement weather brought attendance down from previous years, several thousand people nonetheless braved the rain and came to the City Hall grounds for the seventh annual Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Attendees could listen speeches by authors and meet them afterward as well as purchase books and participate in workshops, including ones for kids.

Novelist Jeffery Deaver writes crime and mystery novels, several of which have been adapted into films.

Deaver said he became interested in writing as a child because he had few friends. He praised the role books play in forging connections between people.

“You see a shy boy carrying a book under his arm,” Deaver said. “You look at the cover and say, ‘Oh, I like that book, too.’ And suddenly that boy isn’t alone anymore. Suddenly you have a new friend.”


Thousands expected to crowd Gaithersburg Book Festival

gaithersburg book festival logo 001

GAITHERSBURG – For the seventh consecutive year, the Gaithersburg Book Festival is set to draw numerous authors and literary enthusiasts to the Gaithersburg City Hall grounds this Saturday.

A number of prominent authors are scheduled to appear at this year’s festival, including longtime ESPN analyst Tim Kurkjian, former Clinton presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal, and popular mystery novelist Jeffery Deaver.


Small crowd gathers for fun at the Art Barn

GAITHERSBURG – At the Gaithersburg Arts Barn, the small crowd found its seats as “Oil and Water,” a documentary about two young men at the opposite ends of the world joining for one cause, began Friday night in The Kentlands.

The movie focused on how huge oil companies were drilling close to territories that belonged to Ecuadorian tribes, pushing tribes to the edge of their homes.


Museum hosts Civil War photos

SANDY SPRING – The Sandy Spring Museum opened a new exhibit Saturday designed to showcase a group of people who bring history to life.

The exhibit, "Living History of the Civil War," features photographs of Civil War re-enactors at work taken by Olney resident J. David Wonderling.

"Until a few years ago, I'd never taken any pictures of Civil War re-enactors," said Wonderling, who served as an Army journalist and photographer with the 20th Engineer Brigade in Vietnam in 1970. "But my interest was piqued at the start of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. I spent a weekend in Gettysburg, where I took a lot of pictures of the re-enactors. That was the start of it."


Local comic book stores take part in Free Comic Book Day

Spider-Man at Barbarian ComicsSpider-Man welcomes visitors to Barbarian Comics in Wheaton on Free Comic Book Day. Click on "Image Gallery" for more photos. PHOTO BY MARK C. ROBINSONOn Saturday, May 7, local comic book stores in Montgomery County took part in the 15th annual Free Comic Book Day. Scheduled on the first Saturday of May, this nationwide promotional event was created in 2001 to attract new readers. Participating retailers give away specially printed copies of free comic books by various publishers, and some offer special deals and creator signings at their locations. For more information on this annual event, visit



This "Man Cave" is home to some of the sweetest sounds produced in Montgomery

Patuxent Studio 3Tom Mindte in his recording studio. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

ROCKVILLE – Entering Patuxent Studio is like stepping into a living room composed of different decades.

Perhaps it is the 1940s television set on the far right side of the room of the warehouse or the 1950s jukebox right next to it.

In the next room is the live space for bands to play and record - the birthplace of 280 albums.

Farther back is the control room and walls lined with photos from decades of musical work.

To Patuxent Music founder and producer Tom Mindte, it’s his “man cave,” where modern recording equipment meets vintage interior design.


Rocklands Farm takes advantage of great wines and good country living


POOLESVILLE - Driving up to what seemed to be a scene in a film set in the 1800s, one can see the signs in front of Rocklands Farm pointing either way with the words “Artisan Tour” on them. According to farm manager Greg Glenn, the farm was only one stop in a tour that spanned most of the countryside in Poolesville.

The closest stop to Rocklands Farm was up the road toward Beallsville, where artists like David Therriault welcomed tourists into their studios to see works such as stone sculptures.

The Artisan Tour consisted of 15 stops spread out between Poolesville and Glenwood. Each stop was at the home and studio of the artists displaying and selling their work. Their mediums ranged from stone sculptures to hand-blown glass.