It's hard to believe, but summer is rapidly drawing to a close. Stretch out those last remaining days with a trip to the orchard, where peaches and raspberries are still ripe for the picking. The Maryland State Fair and the Montgomery County Public Schools' Back-to-School Fair promise good times; BlackRock's Family Block Party is a must-see. Here are this week's best bets for Germantown area families:
• PICK-YOUR-OWN PEACHES
We're nearing the end of the season, but it's still a good time to pick this wonderful summertime staple. Pick your fill of fresh peaches at $1.49 per pound. You can bring your own container or purchase one there. Call 301-977-3761 for more detailed crop information.
Where: Homestead Farm, 15604 Sugarland Road, Poolesville
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (fields close at 5:30 p.m.)
Price: Cost of peaches (and container)
• MARYLAND STATE FAIR
Enjoy jousting, a classic car show, mini pedal tractor rides, animal world, the birthing center (complete with baby calves and piglets), livestock shows, pig races and more at this year's state fair, which opens Friday, Aug. 26 and runs through Labor Day. Selena Gomez performs on opening night; Blake Shelton and All Time Low are scheduled to perform next week. For more information, call 410-252-0200, extension 226.
Where: Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Timonium, Md.
When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday; 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays. Some exhibits open earlier; check the 2011 Schedule of Events for details.
Price: $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3 for children ages 6 to 11, kids 5 and under are free. Carnival rides and concerts are not included with admission. Some activities, such as cow milking lessons, may have an additional fee.
• SENSORY FRIENDLY FILMS: SPY KIDS 4
During these special movie showings, the lights are dimmed instead of turned off, the sound is lowered, and the usual "total silence" rule is not enforced. Spy Kids 4 is rated PG.
Where: AMC Loews Rio Cinemas 18 at the Washingtonian Center, Gaithersburg
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, August 27
Price: $6 per person
• FAMILY BLOCK PARTY
See what BlackRock has to offer with free trial classes for children and adults on topics like acting, music and dance, along with activities and crafts for children and free giveaways. Enjoy live entertainment by visual comedian and entertainer Mark Lohr.
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27
• MCPS' BACK-TO-SCHOOL FAIR
All Montgomery County Public Schools' families are invited to enjoy a day of music, dance, entertainment, snacks, games and more at the fourth annual back to school fair. Limited free parking is available across the street at Montgomery College. The event will take place rain or shine. For more information, call 301-279-3100.
Where: Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville
When: 12 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27
• DOLLHOUSE MINIATURES WORKSHOPS
In conjunction with a miniature dollhouse display at the Damascus Heritage Society Museum, the Mini Wonder Workers are hosting a series of craft workshops for kids. Pom-pom critters, for ages 6 through 11, will run at 1 and 1:30 p.m.; topiary, for ages 8 and up, at 2 and 2:30 p.m.; and cat scratching post, for ages 12 and older, at 3 p.m. (This final class lasts one hour). Space is limited; sign-up in person today or Saturday at the Damascus Heritage Society Museum. The museum is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. and is located next to the library at 9701 Main Street in Damascus. Classes will be held at the library.
Where: Damascus Public Library
When: 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27
• CHARLOTTE'S WEB
Everyone's favorite spider is back for this musical adventure on Zuckerman's farm. This program, for ages 3 and up, runs about one hour. Purchase your tickets online, in person, or call the box office at 301-634-2270. The 11 a.m. shows tend to sell out first.
Where: Adventure Theatre, 7300 MacArthur Blvd. in Glen Echo Park
When: 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27 and 11 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28. The 2 p.m. show on Sunday, which is open to the public, will be ASL-interpreted and is also sensory friendly for those with autism and related conditions.
Price: $17 per person; ages 1 and up require a ticket. There is a service fee of $2 per ticket if you order online or by phone.
• PICK-YOUR-OWN RED RASPBERRIES
Raspberry season is also winding down, but there's still scattered picking at a price of $4.39 per pound ($3.89 for more than three pounds picked). Bring your own bucket or purchase one at the farm. Before you go, call the recorded information line at 301-972-3299 for the latest crop details.
Where: Butler's Orchard, 22200 Davis Mill Road, Germantown
When: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, closed Mondays.
Price: Cost of berries