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Clear your calendar for these holiday traditions

What: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Tom Crockett’s trains at Tan’s Cycles

     “He created a destination with his trains,” Marygrace Baergen says as she gestures across the kitchen table to her brother Tom Crockett.       A pile of thank-you notes and old pictures are scattered on the table. Cardboard boxes wait to be unpacked in Crockett’s new house in Rose Haven, where he moved from the apartment at his former business, Tan’s Cycles in North Beach.

Galway Bay makes a splash big enough to celebrate 20 years

      It takes an Irish boat and crew to ferry beer across the Chesapeake. They won’t be dying the Chesapeake green — as the Irish of Chicago dyed the Chicago River for St. Patrick’s Day — but they’ll be transforming the Bay into an Irish Channel to bring Galway Bay its special 20th anniversary brew. 

What should we do to push back the tide?

      Dozens of islands in Chesapeake Bay were home to human populations, farms, forests, even a few stores and hotels, in the 18th and 19th centuries. Starting in the early 1900s, islanders migrated to the mainland. Now all but two of these offshore islands have disappeared or no longer sustain the communities that once thrived in isolation.

More damn dam debris

      Unless you’re a driftwood enthusiast, the news from Conowingo Dam is troubling. Again.       At the end of the rainiest November ever — in what could be the rainiest year in recorded history — dam operators announced last week that all the flood crest gates would be opened “until further notice.”

It took a neighborhood to make this book

      After years of swapping stories and researching their shared history, a group of Arundel-on-the-Bay residents have finally published their collected neighborhood history in a fully illustrated book.

Give yourself a gift by savoring the Seasons Bounty as you shop

     If you’re one of those people who love to shop, you can stop reading now and go wrap some presents.           But if it takes eight crazed reindeer to drag you to the store during the holidays, this story is for you.

Free parking Nov. 23-Jan. 1

     Visiting Annapolis is easier over the winter holidays, when reasons abound to go downtown. Through January 1, the city puts bags on the downtown parking meters. Thus you can park free for three hours while you enjoy, just for starters, Colonial Player’s Christmas Carol … Midnight Madness … the Statehouse by Candlelight … The Talent Machine’s Holiday Cheer … and Santa’s Speedo Run and Toy Drive. 

Winter Salt Watch monitors where the sodium goes

     The first snow has come. That means snow days, hot cocoa and hunkering down. It also means road salt — and lots of it.       Before the storms, the State Highway Administration preps the roads with salt brine.      “As for how much salt we’ll use this year, we have no idea,” Charlie Gischlar said. “That’s up to Mother Nature.”

Art Things’ new owner promises to continue the tradition local artists have come to rely on

      Talk about customer satisfaction. Shopper Skye Vasquez liked Art Things so much she bought the store.       That’s good news for the artists, dabblers and dreamers who can keep up the half-century habit of browsing and buying at Annapolis’ hardware store for art.