Sweet Halloween statistics

Candy reigns supreme on Halloween. Candy compels trick-or-treaters young and old to don costumes and spend hours scouring neighborhoods for the best treats. Kids know which houses give out full-sized chocolate bars and which are offering other coveted goodies. Although consumer spending in October may not be as high as it is during the holiday season, Halloween shopping is considerable. Here is a look at some notable statistics for the season.

halloween candy .jpg
  • Financial resource The Balance states that 171 million Americans celebrated Halloween in 2016. Total spending for the holiday reached more than $8.4 billion, which was an all-time record.
  • Around 65 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween, including getting dressed up or handing out candy. The U.S. Census Bureau says 41.2 million trick-or-treaters are children between the ages of five and 14.
  • The National Retail Federation says 70 percent of Americans hand out candy, spending around $25 per person on sweets.
  • The amount of children in Canada participating in trick-or-treating was up 1.4 percent between 2015 and 2016 — totaling 3,870,938, according to Statistics Canada.
  • Roughly $418.8 million was spent on candy, confectionery and snack foods at large retailers in Canada in October 2015.
  • According to a survey conducted by RetailMeNot, the average Canadian plans to spend $178 on Halloween.
  • Many people associate Halloween with children, but the day gives everyone the chance to dress up. The NRF estimates that Americans will spend more money on adult costumes than those for children. Witches, pirates, vampires, Batman, and cats are the most popular adult costumes.
  • Halloween is celebrated in many different countries. In addition to the United States and Canada, areas of Europe, Asia and Latin America have their own Halloween celebrations.

Caribbean culture gave rise to the zombie

Fans of the popular television show “The Walking Dead” know that the show follows a group of people trying to survive a postapocalyptic world dominated by reanimated dead humans who feed on the flesh of other living creatures. While they’re referred to as “walkers” by everyone on the show, viewers are led to believe these creatures are “zombies.”

Zombies have long been a subject of horror movies, video games and scary tales. Zombies are believed to be corpses without souls who have been reanimated through supernatural means. Unbeknownst to many, the lumbering undead on the search for fresh brains that makes up the contemporary zombie characterization actually trace their roots to the Caribbean. Some speculate the word “zombie” was derived from West African languages. The Oxford English Dictionary says “zombie” is a word that was first recorded in English in 1819. It is related to words zumbi, meaning “fetish,” and nzambi meaning, “a god.”

In spirit religions, such as the voudou (voodoo) practiced by some Haitians, zombies are not flesh-eating corpses but the unfortunate dead whose souls were stolen. According to content published by the University of Michigan, believers of voodoo believed people could die naturally through sickness or a god’s will. Those who died unnaturally due to murder, suicide or before their time would linger at their graves until the gods offered them respite. During this period, souls would be vulnerable to powerful sorcerers known as “boko.” A boko could capture the soul and keep it in a bottle, controlling the undead body or just the soul. Under the best circumstances, zombies helped the boko, but unsavory boko could use the zombies as slaves. Many Haitians did not fear the zombies, but rather were afraid of becoming zombies against their will.

Another interpretation published in The Atlantic says zombies were of their own making. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Haiti was ruled by France and known as Saint-Domingue. During this period, African slaves were used to work on sugar plantations where the working and living conditions were brutal. Death was seen as a release back to their home countries. However, suicide was frowned upon and would not allow souls to return to Africa. The souls of slaves who committed suicide would be condemned to roam plantations for eternity.

When the United States briefly occupied Haiti in the early twentieth century, zombie stories and rumors began to grow popular. Stories of zombies permeated American culture. Writers and filmmakers have long offered their own interpretations of zombies. However, many of these interpretations have little, if any, similarities to the zombie stories rooted in Caribbean culture.


Celebrate all military this May

Memorial Day is celebrated each May to commemorate the people who died in service of the United States of America. 

Even though barbecues and visions of the upcoming summer weather may command much of the attention come Memorial Day weekend, the holiday really serves as a remembrance for those military members who  paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, as well as the personnel who continue to protect and serve today.

Memorial Day origins

Memorial Day was first known as Decoration Day and was borne out of the Civil War. on May 30, 1868, General John Logan, a national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, decreed General Order No. 11, which designated the day for the “purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” May 30th was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. 

It took several years for the first state to recognize the holiday, which New York adopted in 1873. By 1890, all northern states recognized Decoration Day. When the holiday changed from commemorating those who died fighting the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war after World War I, the South began to recognize it as well.

Honoring the military

Although Memorial Day pays homage to the brave people who perished fighting for their country, it also is an opportunity to recognize the military men and women and their families who continue to work to ensure the freedom of Americans. 

The United States Armed Forces is renowned for its size and strength. Various sources suggest the size of the United States military is somewhere between 1.4 and 1.6 million active service people. The military is comprised of the Army, Army National Guard, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Each of these military branches also has its own reserves. There are many ways to honor active, reserve and former veterans, as well as those who died in service of their country.

  • Help Veterans of Foreign Wars distribute red poppies as a visual reminder of the military’s efforts.

  • Volunteer at a veterans’ hospital or visit a wounded veteran at home.

  • Offer financial, legal or career expertise through the Corporation for National & Community Service (serve.gov). 

  • Help to maintain the veteran area of a nearby cemetery. Place flags on all of the graves.

  • Befriend military families who frequently relocate, making a concerted effort to welcome them into your community.

  • Educate children about past wars and the services the military provides.

  • Visit a military museum or historic site.

  • Observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 pm local time for one minute.

  • Post a message to the troops at the USO website (uso.org). 

Free Family Community Event (Sat. May 20th)

This Saturday The Goddard School of Champions/Spring Will be hosting a FREE community event.

Everyone is welcome and bring the whole family!

They will have:

  • Petting Zoo 

  • Bounce House 

  • Popcorn

  • Snow Cones 

  • Face Painting

  • Fire Truck and firemen! 

  • Indoor/ outdoor activities

  • prizes

  • Rain or Shine

  • Fun for the whole Family

Date: Saturday, May 20th, 2017 at 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Location: The Goddard School- 8727 Eastloch Drive, Spring, Texas 





Community to the Rescue

Frank Elementary Students

1/2 Price Play Days &

1/2 Price Unlimited Laser tag! 

Due to recent unfortunate events: Any Frank Elementary Student that has the day off will be able to get into Palava of Spring: 

3240 Spring Cypress Rd. Spring, Texas

(832) 764-8250


Palava of Spring will be offering all week:

$4 Play days

$10 unlimited Laser tag

Free Kids Breakfast with the purchase of an Adult Breakfast Plate

Monday through Friday (9am to 11.30am)

Directions Below:


Did you know?

Prospective dog owners have many different breeds to choose from. Dogs vary with regard to temperament, coat type, looks, and even size, giving would-be dog owners many options to find the breeds that may suit their lifestyles. Small dogs tend to be favorites among those who live in apartments or do not have the space or time for the long exercise larger breeds may need. Diminutive breeds also travel more easily than large pooches. Keep in mind, however, that many toy breeds are too delicate to be handled by boisterous children and may require serene home environments. For those searching for a small breed, consider this list, courtesy of the American Kennel Club.

• Brussels Griffon

• Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

• Chihuahua

• Dachshund

• Havanese

• Japanese Chin

• Maltese

• Miniature Pinscher

• Norfolk Terrier

• Pomeranian

• Pug • Poodle

• Yorkshire Terrier    

Tips for a healthy and happy kitten

New pets can make life at home more exciting. Cats are popular pets because of their curiosity, playfulness and size, which makes them great pets in private homes and apartments big and small. Many people prefer cats because they tend to require less maintenance than dogs and felines are relatively self-sufficient. According to a 2014 survey from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, 37 percent of Canadian households included one or more cats. In the United States, the American Pet Products Association says that 30 to 37 percent of households have a cat, and more than 35 percent of cats are acquired as strays. Kittens can be soft, fluffy and adorable to have around. However, to maintain a peaceful household and provide a safe environment for new felines, it’s important for pet owners to follow some key tips.

Kittens should not be separated from their mother or siblings until they’re at least 10 to 12 weeks of age, provided the litter has had significant human contact, offers Blue Buffalo Pet Food’s animal experts. If the kittens have not had much contact, it may be possible to bring them home earlier. The earlier cats are socialized, the easier the kitten-owner relationship and the less skittish the cat may be. Cats require some necessities from the start. These include feeding bowls, litter boxes or trays, toys, and scratching posts. Washable cat beds with warm blankets are also helpful. Position the litter tray in a corner away from food and water. The International Cat Care group says that a new home can be intimidating, so it’s best to introduce cats slowly to their new environments. Choose a room that’s quiet where the kitten can adjust. Outfit the room with toys and a place to snuggle or hide, and remove any hazards or breakable items. Gradually give the kitten time to venture out into the main living area to explore, watching how it behaves. If the cat dashes nervously, it may need more time to acclimate. Some kittens take up to two weeks to fully relax in a home. People should be introduced one at a time.

The animal guidance group VetStreet says handling and playing with kittens at least once per day will help owners form strong emotional bonds with their cats. Children should be monitored upon introduction to the new kitten to make sure it’s a positive experience for both the kitten and child. Veterinarians can offer a wealth of information for new cat owners. Ask many questions, including which foods to feed them and how often; illnesses to watch out for; suggestions on how to introduce the kitten to other pets; and guidelines for making litter box training easier. Remember to discuss having the kitten spayed or neutered right away to help combat cat overpopulation.

Kittens can be playful members of the family. Treat them right from the start and they can make loving and excellent pets.

Tracing your genealogy

The internet has put more information into our hands than generations past may have ever believed possible. One of the more unique ways the internet has opened doors is by providing a relatively easy way for men and women to trace their family histories. Once difficult to gather, information with regard to genealogy is now just a click away. Tracing one’s genealogy has become a popular pastime and one that is much more manageable thanks to the bevy of family tree and family lineage websites. Such sites work by gathering some key information, including the names and birthdays of certain relatives. The sites then use this data to create a more complete picture of family relations. On the popular genealogy site Ancestry.com, for example, suggestions pop up with a potential relative’s name or further information about a loved one, which can then populate the family tree even further.

In addition to knowing just who is in a family, tracing genealogy also can present a bigger picture of relatives’ occupations and military history, and  may even shed light on their travel histories. Family tree sites can be enhanced by uploading images, census data, immigration records, and even more documents that would be otherwise buried in photo albums or memory keepsakes.

Taking family genealogy a step further, many people are opting to couple their family history quests with DNA testing. Companies such as 23andMe can use a saliva sample to help pinpoint potential geographic roots. These findings can include an estimate on ethnicity, going as far as breaking down the percentage of ethnicity from certain regions of the world. Further testing may include the ability to learn about other relatives who are linked through these DNA matches.

Family genealogy websites can provide fascinating windows into our family histories. People who are unsure of their ethnicity, those who were adopted, or anyone who is just curious about how their families began can find a wealth of interesting information in relatively little time.

Safety tips for female travelers

Many people have a passion for travel, which can provide wondrous new experiences and enrich travelers’ lives in ways they might never have imagined prior to their trips. While some may associate traveling with family vacations or backpacking excursions with friends, more and more travelers are flying solo.

In its 2015 Visa Global Travel Intentions Study, the market research firm Millward Brown found that 24 percent of people traveled solo on their most recent international vacations. That study examined travelers from 25 countries, illustrating that solo travel is a global trend.

Traveling alone can provide travelers with a greater sense of freedom, as such wanderers can pick and choose their trips and activities without having to consult with a partner or friend. But traveling solo also can be more risky than traveling with friends or family. The safety in numbers philosophy has long been applied to traveling overseas, but women traveling alone can employ a handful of safety strategies when planning their trips.


Women should take various factors into consideration before choosing lodging for their trips. Small hotels or bed and breakfasts may not be as glamorous as larger alternatives, but it’s easier to become friendly with staff at such establishments and it’s easier for staff to recognize any suspicious characters loitering on the premises. Choose a hotel on a well-traveled street so you are not walking alone down a dark road late at night. If you plan to drive on your trip, inquire about valet parking and its availability throughout the day. A 24-hour parking service can keep you from having to park in dimly lit and/or faraway parking lots late at night.


Many travelers may enjoy “getting lost” on their trips, feeling that such wandering is a great way to discover areas of a city that are less populated by fellow tourists. But solo travelers must be mindful of their surroundings at all times. Study maps before departing on your trip so you can get a layout of any locales you plan to visit. Learn the landmarks and their locations within the city, using them as guides should you get lost during your travels. Employ the GPS technology on your smartphone if you find yourself getting lost, and ask the front desk attendant or concierge at your hotel to mark off any potentially dangerous neighborhoods to avoid.


While it can be difficult to blend in with the locals when traveling overseas, try to avoid dressing too flashy or wearing lots of jewelry. Jewelry may draw the attention of pickpockets or thieves, while overdressing may announce to criminals that you’re a tourist. Blending in as much as possible can make you less noticeable to criminals and reduce your risk of being targeted. More and more travelers are going solo. Female travelers who embrace this trend must exercise caution to ensure their trip is as safe as it is enjoyable.

Denim & Diamonds Bingo Bash

Everyone is invited to the Conservatory Senior Living BINGO BASH! 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Starting at 6:00pm-8:00pm

$10 Bingo Cards, Refreshments, Prices and Community Tours.

If you love a good time for a great cause, then BINGO! Join us at The Conservatory at Champions Forest for our Denim & Diamonds Bingo Bash. Pull out your Best Pair of jeans and flashiest bling and join us as we give back to those in need. Event proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House. We hope to see you there!

Call 281-378-6069 by April 14 to RSVP.

Location: 8215 Cypresswood Drive, Spring Tx 77379






First Contact Day

First Contact Day is a minor holiday in the TV series, Star Trek  ©iStockphoto.com/Brendan Hunter

First Contact Day is a minor holiday in the TV series, Star Trek

©iStockphoto.com/Brendan Hunter

Fans of the sci-fi series Star Trek celebrate First Contact Day on April 5 to mark the day in 2063 when humans make their first contact with the Vulcans.

The day is celebrated as a minor holiday in the Star Trek world and made its first appearance on the episode named Homestead in the Star Trek: Voyager series.

TV Show

Star Trek is an American television and film enterprise first created in 1966 by Gene Roddenberry. The first television series in the franchise debuted in 1966 and is now known as The Original Series. It followed the adventures of the crew of the starship USS Enterprise under the leadership of Captain James T Kirk.

Humanoid Race

The Enterprise is a 23rd-century spaceship of the United Federation of Planets, a federation of more than 150 governments from different planets. The Federation as it is popularly known was created in 2161.

The Vulcans are a humanoid race from the planet Vulcan, which is about 16 light years from Earth. Vulcans are considered to be masters of logic who have found ways to suppress their violent emotions. Commander Spock is one of the most well-known Vulcans in the Star Trek universe.

How to Celebrate?

  • Have a Star Trek themed party for all your family and friends. Have your guests come dressed as their favorite characters.
  • Make cheese pierogis, one of the dishes made by characters celebrating the day on the show.
  • Attend a Star Trek fan meet and meet other like-minded people.
  • Hold a Start Trek viewing marathon.
  • Greet everyone you meet on this day with the Vulcan salute. To do this, raise your hands with your palm facing outwards, and your thumb away from your hand. Part your middle and ring finger such that the index and middle finger are together and your ring and little finger are close to each other.

Did You Know…

…that the first First Contact Day was celebrated 315 years after the first contact on 2378?

April Fools’ Day has a lengthy history

What do you get when have a select group of people who didn’t get the memo that the calendar had been modified and the start of the New Year was now pushed back by three months? April Fools’ Day, that’s what. Although the tomfoolery that occurs each April 1 may not feel very old, April Fools’ Day traces its origins back several centuries.

One legend states that April Fools’ Day originated in the 1500s and has remained a day for hijinks ever since. Prior to the 1500s, the western world relied on the Julian calendar to keep track of time. According to the Julian calendar, years began on March 25. However, since March 25 fell during Holy Week, the new year festivities were pushed back to the first day of April. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII decreed the adoption of the “Gregorian calendar,” which switched New Year’s Day from the end of March to January 1.

Many people were informed of this change, yet those who lived in rural areas or had not heard about the calendar change continued to celebrate the arrival of the new year on April 1. These people were mocked, and some  people in the know would try to confuse people into thinking that April 1 was still New Year’s Day and they were receiving a New Year’s visit. From this tradition grew the one that is observed today, with people trying to fool unsuspecting individuals with all methods of pranks and trickery.

In France, jokes may have involved placing paper fish on the backs of the gullible. These “poisson d’avril (April fish)” symbolized a young, easily caught fish, or someone who was easily pranked.

Others suggest April Fools’ Day is connected to pagan festivals celebrated during the change of seasons. On Hilaria, Romans would dress up in disguises. Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day is connected to the vernal equinox, when people were fooled with unpredictable weather.

April Fools’ antics eventually spread outside of France to Britain, and then around the world. While pranks were once simplistic in nature, many are now more intricate. According to Snopes, a popular April Fools’ hoax dates back to 1957 when the BBC convinced its audience that spring would arrive early, and with it, an early spaghetti harvest in Switzerland. Video showed peasant women harvesting spaghetti from trees, now that the ravenous spaghetti weevil, which had caused havoc to past harvests, was finally defeated. The station received scores of calls asking to view the harvest or inquiring how they could get a spaghetti plant.

In 1996 in the United States, the popular fast food chain Taco Bell convinced the public that it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and wanted to rename it the “Taco Liberty Bell.”

In 2016, the Texas state comptroller’s office announced that “redback” paper money would be reissued in the state for the first time since 1840 — and it would feature Willie Nelson’s face on the $10 bill. April Fools’ jokes have evolved throughout the centuries. Although the exact origins cannot be accurately pinpointed, the fun ensues nevertheless.

Tomball German Festival March 31- April 2

Looking for something fun to do this weekend with the whole family!? 

Tomball German Festival is happening March 31- April 2. 

Location: Tomball, TexasOld Town Tomball Near the HistoricalTrain Depot Plaza, 201 S. Elm


Free Admission/Parking/ 4 Music Stages / 175 Street VendorsEthnic & Festival Food, Beer, WinePetting Zoo / Street PerformersSouvenirs, Arts & Crafts, AntiquesHeritage Center

Free Parking and Shuttles

The Carnival opens Thursday evening, March 30th, with a $15 special price for the “all you can ride” armband. See you at the corner of Main and Cherry for this Thursday ONLY special.

On Friday, March 31st at 6:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m. shop street vendors and enjoy various performances.

Saturday, April 1st at 10:00 a.m. till 10:00 p.m. begins with the “tapping of the keg” and Willkommen ceremony for German exchange students and Tomball host families, and official opening by the Mayor of Tomball Gretchen Fagan. Alex Meixner will be the featured entertainer once again with music and dancing all day and into the night with Alpenmusikanten, Chris Rybak and Das Ist Lustig and much, much more.

Enjoy the final day of the festivel Sunday, April 2nd at 10:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m.

Friday- Stellar Entertainment Line Up (6-10pm)

MC Valina Polka 6:00 Auf Geht’s 7:00 Keine Kunst German Folk Dance Troupe 7:30 Auf Geht’s 8:30 Rathkamp German Folk Dancers 9:00 Auf Geht’s

Chris Rybak Party Stage

MC Edita Rybak 6:00 Chris Rybak Band 7:30 David G Wonders 8:00 Chris Rybak Band

Warsteiner Stage

MC Heidi Holadio 6:00 Alex Meixner Band sponsored by Polka Beat 7:00 Rathkamp German Folk Dance Troupe 7:30 Alex Meixner Band 8:30 Das Ist Keine Kunst German Folk Dance Troupe 9:00 Alex Meixner Band

Texas Heritage Stage

MC Scott Armstrong 6:00–10:00 Blue Yonder

Heritage Center

6:30–8:30 Kenny James

Saturday, Line Up (10am-10pm)

MC Heidi Holadio 10:30 Matt Tolentino’s Royal Klobasneks 11:10 Parade arrives 11:15 Opening ceremonies and keg tapping 11:30 Matt Tolentino’s Royal Klobasneks 12:30 Clements HS German Club folk dancers 12:45 Tompkins HS German Club folk dancers 1:00 Matt Tolentino’s Royal Klobasneks 2:00 Scandinavian Folk Dancers of Houston 2:30 Matt Tolentino’s Royal Klobasneks 3:30 Woodlands HS German Club folk dancers 3:50 TBA 4:00 Kingwood HS German Club folk dancers 4:15 Auf Geht’s 5:30 Rathkamp German Folk Dancers 6:00 Auf Geht’s 7:00 Cloggers On The Move 7:30 Auf Geht’s 8:30 Keine Kunst 9:00 Auf Geht’s

Chris Rybak Party Stage

MC Edita Rybak 10:30 Round Top Brass Band 11:30 recorded music 12:00 Round Top Brass Band 12:45 Deer Park HS German Club folk dancers 1:00 Kingwood HS German Club folk dancers 1:15 Round Top Brass Band 2:20 TBA 2:30 Round Top Brass Band 3:15 Clements HS German Club folk dancers 3:30 Great Oak School German Choir 4:15 Chris Rybak Band 5:15 Woodlands College Park German club Polka Band and folk dancers 5:45 Woodlands HS German Club folk dancers 6:00 Chris Rybak Band 7:00 Scandinavian Folk Dancers of Houston 7:30 Chris Rybak Band 8:30 Rathkamp German Folk Dancers 9:00 Chris Rybak Band

Warsteiner Stage

MC Katerina & Valina Polka 10:30 TubaMeisters 11:30 recorded music 12:00 TubaMeisters 12:45 Woodlands HS German Club folk dancers 1:05 TBA 1:15 Das Ist Lustig 2:00 German folk dance Showcase; six German Clubs from Houston area high schools 2:30 Das Ist Lustig 3:15 Woodlands College Park German Club folk dancers / Polka band 3:45 Alex Meixner Band sponsored by Polka Beat 5:00 Das Ist Lustig 6:00 Keine Kunst German Folk Dance Troupe 6:30 Alex Meixner Band 7:30 Masskrugstemmen (Stein holding) 7:50 Das Ist Lustig 8:40 Masskrugstemmen (Stein holding) 9:00 Alex Meixner Band

Texas Heritage Stage

MC Scott Armstrong 10:30 Armstrong Family Bluegrass Band 11:30 recorded music 11:45 Robert Duke Trick Roper 12:15 London Lawhon 12:45 Armstrong Family Bluegrass Band 1:45 TBA 2:00 Robert Duke Trick Roper 2:30 Armstrong Family Bluegrass Band 3:35 Derek Song 4:00 London Lawhon 4:30 Deer Park HS German Club folk dancers 4:45 Tompkins HS German Club folk dancers 5:15 TBA 5:30 Hollerin’ and Yodelin Contest 6:00 The Siekers Band 7:30 Derek Song 8:00 The Siekers Band

Heritage Center

11:00–3:30 Rebecca Jane 4:00-9:00 Joe Brikha

Sunday, Finale! Line Up (10am-6pm)

MC Heidi Holadio 12:00 Walburg Boys 1:15 David G Wonders 1:45 Walburg Boys 3:00 Rathkamp German Folk Dancers 3:30 Walburg Boys 4:30 Cloggers Unlimited 5:00 Walburg Boys

Chris Rybak Party Stage

MC Edita Rybak 12:00 Chris Rybak Band 1:15 JungeMeisters 2:00 Keine Kunst German Folk Dance Troupe 2:30 JungeMeisters 3:30 Chris Rybak Band 4:30 Rathkamp German Folk Dancers 5:00 Chris Rybak Band

Warsteiner Stage

MC Valina Polka 12:00 Das Ist Lustig 2:00 Cloggers Unlimited 2:30 Alex Meixner Band sponsored by Polka Beat 4:00 Keine Kunst German Folk Dance Troupe 4:30 Alex Meixner Band

Texas Heritage Stage

MC Scott Armstrong 12:00 Armstrong Family Bluegrass Band 1:00 Robert Duke Trick Roper 1:30 Traveling Murphy’s 2:30 Robert Duke Trick Roper 3:00 Armstrong Family Bluegrass Band 4:00 Traveling Murphy’s 5:00 Armstrong Family Bluegrass Band

Heritage Center

1:00-5:00 Shelia Lee and Friends

Strolling All Weekend

David G Wonders Tallest German Katerina on Saxophone Gene Hackemack on Accordion

Saturday & Sunday only: Ghillie The Elf TubaMeisters Derek on classical Violin

*subject to change*


3 ways to tackle spring cleaning projects in a single weekend

Spring cleaning is an annual rite of passage in many households. Because winter weather tends to encourage people to stay indoors more than they would during other times of the year, clutter can slowly but surely accumulate in a home over the course of a typical winter. That makes spring cleaning a necessity. Few homeowners likely enjoy spring cleaning. The warm weather associated with the arrival of spring makes many people who have spent the previous months indoors less than enthusiastic about spending a spring weekend indoors cleaning and clearing away a season’s worth of clutter. But homeowners who organize their spring cleaning projects can ensure such efforts take just a weekend or less.

1. Enlist the whole family.

Chances are everyone who lives in the home can lay claim to some of the dirt, grime and clutter that built up over the winter. So it only makes sense that everyone then pitches in to clean the home come springtime. Parents and heads of household can delegate tasks to everyone, incentivizing cooperation with the promise of rewards if the cleaning is completed in a single weekend.

2. Clear your schedule.

Another way for homeowners to ensure their spring cleaning projects are started and finished in a single weekend is to clear their schedules for the entire weekend. Homeowners who expect to spend part of their day away from home and still finish their spring cleaning projects will likely find the job unfinished come Sunday night. When planning a spring cleaning weekend, schedule projects for a weekend when you have no prior commitments or plan far enough in advance that you can avoid making plans on a given weekend. While it might not make for the most eventful weekend, it will greatly increase your chances of getting everything cleaned and cleared out in two days.

3. Do your homework.

Homeowners who want to complete their spring cleaning in a single weekend should do their homework with regard to finding local recycling centers or charitable organizations to whom they intend to donate items. Many charitable organizations will come to private homes to pick up donations, but such pickups often must be arranged in advance rather than on the morning of the day homeowners want items to be taken away. In addition, if recycling will be a part of your spring cleaning efforts, familiarize yourself with the weekend hours of nearby recycling plants so you can drop items off on your cleaning weekend instead of leaving them lying around to be donated later. Spring cleaning might not make for the most enjoyable way for homeowners to spend a weekend. But planning ahead and making efficient use of the time available to them can help homeowners tackle their spring cleaning projects in a single weekend. 

Enjoy an environmentally friendly St. Patrick’s Day

Green is the color most associated with St. Patrick’s Day, and green also can be the primary mindset of hosts and hostesses when planning Paddy’s Day revelry. As celebrants prepare to pay homage to Irish culture and the accomplishments of St. Patrick, they can include eco-conscious practices in the festivities.

For many people, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to let loose and have a good time. Parades are abundant, and food and drink often are enjoyed in copious amounts. While this excess can make for a fun and raucous day, those who are conscious of their carbon footprints can scale back in some clever ways.

Enjoy a local brew

While many may prefer a pint of Ireland-brewed Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day, imported beers have larger carbon footprints than local beers thanks to trans-Atlantic shipping and delivery to nearby retailers. Instead of Guinness, consider a locally-brewed beer. Homespun breweries are a growing niche business in communities big and small. If you’re more adventurous, invest in a home-brewing kit and try your luck with your own flavor profile.

Skip the confetti or ticker tape

Attending a parade can be the pinnacle of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. When so many people gather in one place, there’s a greater propensity for waste and litter. Although garbage cannot be avoided, towns and cities can help curtail the mess by avoiding confetti, balloon drops and ticker tape. Birds routinely get snagged by balloon strings, or they may inadvertently swallow popped latex balloons thinking they’re food. Confetti can wash away into storm drains or clog sewers. Bubbles, laser lights and other plastic- or paper-free items can be used instead and are better for the environment.

Invest in reusable products

If your’s is the go-to house for St. Patrick’s Day revelry, purchase tablecloths, dishes and cups that can be used again and again. This cuts down on the number of disposable items that get put in the trash and eventually find their way into landfills.

Transform your leftovers

Irish soda bread, corned beef, potatoes and much more are par for the culinary course come St. Patrick’s Day. Rather than discarding leftovers, consider recipes that will put those leftovers to good use. Dice up the corned beef to add to egg dishes or quiches. Post-Paddy’s Day sandwiches also make a delicious treat. Potatoes can be mashed and transformed into croquettes. Or they can be diced to make hash browns to go with those corned beef-enhanced eggs. Spread soda bread with a sweet jam and instantly turn it into a dessert. Or crumble the bread to use in a delicious bread pudding.

Splurge on an experience

Rather than material goods, if you want to set your party apart, invest in an experience that produces no waste. Contract with Uilleann pipers who can add a Celtic flair to the festivities. Although bagpipes are more widely associated with the Scottish, they have become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day as well.

Spring break adventures that stray from the norm

Spring is a time of year when students plan their annual treks to warmer climates. Areas such as Florida's Daytona Beach and Cancun, Mexico, attract hundreds of thousands of revelers each spring break.

It is wise for students to plan their trips as early as possible to beat the rush. In addition, savvy students can educate themselves about potential spring break pitfalls. Spring break has earned a reputation as a potentially dangerous excursion, in part due to bad behavior and criminals preying on young students. But spring break doesn't have to be a lesson in debauchery. There are many ways revelers can enjoy their extended vacations from school.

  • Lend a helping hand. Many college students spend their spring breaks giving back to the less fortunate. In 2015, more than 10,000 high school and college students signed up to spend their spring breaks building houses with Habitat for Humanity. Many organizations sponsor spring break programs for youngsters.
  • Explore foreign culture. Make spring break an opportunity to travel internationally and learn something new about a country's history and impact on the world. Research the country's legal system before traveling, however. Foreign laws can be quite different from the American and Canadian law, and roughly 2,500 Americans are arrested on spring break trips to foreign countries each year. Also, be aware of political turmoil or unrest at your destination. You may inadvertently put yourself in harm's way.
  • Try something new. Rather than spend spring break letting loose, you may want to get together with like-minded friends and try a new hobby or project. Enroll in a music or art class. If your interests lean toward the daring, try skydiving or trapeze lessons. You will likely save money on travel expenses in the process and still come away with lasting memories.
  • Be unique. There's no need to follow the masses to the nearest beach town. A vacation from school and home can be enjoyable no matter where you head. Cruises are attractive because you pay one fee that includes food and accommodations. In addition, cruise ships have a number of guided excursions available to guests. While many cruise lines travel to tropical waters, there are some that hug the eastern and western coasts of North America northward to Alaska or Novia Scotia.
  • Visit family. While spring break is often a time for letting loose, for some it can present the ideal opportunity to catch up with distant relatives they do not often see. Accepting their hospitality can stretch vacation budgets even further.
  • Take advantage of last-minute specials. If you can't decide where to go, pay close attention to travel Web sites and any specials they may offer in the months and weeks leading up to spring break season. Inexpensive last-minute packages may become available as spring draws near. You just may locate a destination that wasn't what you had imagined, but it can turn into an exciting and memorable experience.

Road trip tips for spring drivers

Spring is a season of rebirth for many people, who welcome the warm weather with open arms, especially those who just endured a harsh winter. Spending time outdoors when the weather warms up is a popular pastime for many people each spring.

Road trips taken by college kids or high schoolers hitting the road for spring break or professionals and parents packing up the car for a weekend getaway have become synonymous with spring. A road trip is a great way to get outdoors and make the most of a warm day, but there are a few tricks of the trade drivers can employ to ensure their road trips are as enjoyable as possible.

* Give your car a good wash. Drivers who live in areas with heavy snowfall should give their vehicles a thorough cleaning before hitting the road for a spring road trip. Salt and sand can build up on a vehicle over the course of a snowy winter, so a power washing will help remove excess salt, sand or dirt and help the car run more smoothly.

* Get the vehicle a tune-up. A tune-up, including an oil change, should be part of your pre-trip planning. Make sure winter hasn't caused any damage to the vehicle's body and ask your mechanic to perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle's suspension and brakes. If any problems arise, address them before embarking on your road trip.

* Subscribe to a roadside assistance program. Roadside assistance programs, whether it's AAA or a program offered through your insurance company, provide a measure of security to road-trippers. Many roadside assistance programs provide variety of emergency assistance for members, including: towing service if your vehicle cannot start or operate safely, battery service if your car's battery needs a jump, flat tire service if you get a flat tire and don't have a spare or cannot change the tire yourself, fuel delivery service if your car runs out of gas, and lockout service if you lock your keys in the car. These services can act as a safety net should an issue arise when you're on the road and far away from home or far away from a service station. Keep your membership card in your wallet and store their customer service number in your cellular phone should you accidentally lose your membership card or lock it inside your car.

* Bring cash as well as credit cards on the trip. When embarking on a road trip, don't assume you will have ready access to an ATM on your trip or at your destination. This means you may reach a point when you have no cash on hand. While it's a good idea to bring some cash along on the trip, bring a credit card or cards as well should you find yourself with no cash. A major credit card, such as a Mastercard, American Express or Visa, is likely to be accepted at most filling stations.

* Invest in a road navigation system. A road navigation system can be your best friend, helping you find your way in places with which you are unfamiliar. Road navigation systems can alert you to traffic conditions while providing directions and alternate routes. Some systems will even alert you to nearby filling stations, lodging or restaurants.