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12 reasons to buy local during the holidays

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1. To protect the environment
Goods that are grown or produced nearby generate less pollution than merchandise that needs to be transported over a long distance. These products also tend to have less packaging. Plus, you don’t have to travel far to visit local shops, which further reduces your carbon footprint.

2. To find one-of-a-kind gifts
If you really want to surprise a loved one on Christmas morning, check out the shops in your area. Small business owners work hard to offer their customers unique products that set them apart from major retailers. Alternatively, you can select handcrafted pieces made by local artisans.

3. To enjoy delicious food
Local farmers and producers provide fresh ingredients that can help you create your holiday meal. Whether you want to serve ready-made dishes or cook everything from scratch, you can count on the bakeries, butcher shops, and gourmet grocers in your region to have a variety of options to offer.

4. To boost the local economy
When you buy from local businesses, you help stimulate the region’s economy and create more jobs for the people in your area. And since a thriving market is sure to attract other companies, the result is a dynamic and prosperous community.


5. To support a vibrant community
Plenty of local groups and establishments organize activities throughout the year, with many holiday-themed events hosted in December. Whether you attend a story hour with your kids or karaoke night with your friends, your support ensures these organizations can continue to make your community a fun place to live.

6. To enjoy top-quality service
Customer satisfaction is a priority for small business owners. You can count on the knowledgeable staff at local specialty shops to offer great suggestions and answer all of your questions. Plus, exchanges and returns are easier since you can take care of them in person.

7. To discover hidden gems
Take time to explore the various shops, restaurants, venues, and attractions in your region. Even if you’ve lived there for years, you’ll likely be surprised by what you find. Discover a new craft beer, a temporary outdoor exhibition, or a charming coffee shop. Your town has more to offer than you think.

8. To alleviate holiday stress
There’s no need to venture into crowded shopping malls when everything you need to buy for a merry holiday season is available right around the corner. What’s more, if you purchase all of your gifts from local boutiques, you won’t have to worry about whether they’ll arrive in time for Christmas.

9. To demonstrate solidarity
The COVID-19 pandemic took a major toll on the economy, and small businesses need your patronage now more than ever. Shopping locally is a simple way to support hard-working members of your community through this difficult time. And since you receive high-quality goods and services in return, it’s a win-win situation.

10. To save yourself time and money
The holiday season should be about spending time with friends and family, not fighting traffic or navigating winter driving conditions. When you stick to shops, restaurants, and venues in the area, you avoid a lot of hassle and save plenty of money on gas.

11. To enjoy high-quality goods
Locally made products might be more expensive than mass-produced items, but they tend to be made better and more durable. This means you’ll spend less in the long run. What’s more, when you opt for goods made in your region, you can be confident that the employees worked inhumane conditions for a fair wage.

12. To strengthen your sense of community
If you’re a regular at your local shops and restaurants, you’ll be able to routinely chat with the owners, employees, and other customers you meet. This connection can foster a sense of belonging in your community. Plus, it’s nice to see familiar faces during the holidays.

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Interesting Things to Know

U.S. Census Bureau: Celebrating 245 Years of America

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On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As we celebrate this Independence Day, we reflect on how our Founding Fathers enshrined in our Constitution the importance of statistics as a vital tool for measuring America.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

 

The following facts are possible thanks to responses to U.S. Census Bureau surveys.

Did You Know?
2.5 million
The estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation in July 1776.
Source: Historical Statistics of the United States: 1789-1945


331,449,281
The nation’s population on April 1, 2020.
Source: 2020 Census

56
The number of signers of the Declaration of Independence.
It is also worth noting that:
John Hancock, a merchant by trade, was the first signer. In 2019, more than 1 million business establishments nationally with paid employees like Hancock were in the retail trade industry.
Source: 2019 Geography Area Series: County Business Patterns, Table CB1900CBP

Benjamin Franklin, who represented Pennsylvania, was the oldest signer of the Declaration of Independence at age 70. Pennsylvania had a resident population of 13,002,700 on April 1, 2020. Edward Rutledge of South Carolina was the youngest signer at age 26. South Carolina had a resident population of 5,118,425 on April 1, 2020
Source: 2020 Census

Patriotic Places
Counties and census incorporated places that contain the word “Liberty” in the name.
Source: Vintage 2019 Population Estimates

Counties that have “Union” in the name.
Source: Vintage 2019 Population Estimates

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The national happy march satisfies the urge to conduct the band

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If you are older, you may not have heard it for a while. If you are younger, you may never have heard it.

Either way, on July 4, find The Stars & Stripes Forever and listen. You’ll want to conduct the band with abandon and smash the cymbals.

It’s a giant, jubilant march, with stirring lyrics which, for fun, you can also substitute for a duck song (Be kind to your web-footed friends…).

John Philip Sousa — Marine, musician, and bandleader — was returning to the United States from a vacation in Italy in 1896. It was Christmas Day and from the deck of an ocean liner, he heard the march in his head.


“Suddenly, I began to sense the rhythmic beat of a band playing within my brain,” Sousa wrote in his autobiography Marching Along, “It kept on ceaselessly playing … the imaginary band continued to unfold the same themes, echoing and re-echoing the most distinct melody.

“I did not transfer a note of that music to paper while I was on the steamer, but when we reached the shore I set down the measures that my brain-band had been playing for me, and not a note of it has ever changed,” he wrote.

The song repeats distinct melodies in sections, called strains, using different instruments to repeat and lead. So the song begins with a hearty introduction by the horns with great smashing beats on drums, followed by the melody. Woodwinds repeat, and later, the famous response of the piccolos. The trombones thunder in with a bold counter melody. Then, the entire band plays together — and, by then, we’re all marching.

While it is the official national march of the United States, the tune has also been adopted by soccer fans in the UK, sung as ‘Here We Go,’ once called a working-class march. Cartoon character Popeye fought bad guys to the song. Comedians invented the duck lyrics. The Grateful Dead played it to retire.

One strange Stars & Stripes Forever fact: Circuses in the early 20th century loved to fire up the crowd with march music, but they never played The Stars & Stripes Forever. This tune was a secret signal, only played when a life-threatening disaster was imminent. When they heard it, emergency personnel would try to quietly disperse the crowd, not always successfully.

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Franklin’s quip reveals the high stakes of independence

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It was a blast heard around the world, a declaration of treason as much as independence by a handful of colonists living on the other side of the Atlantic from the most powerful country in the world.

Congress in America voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. A month later, on August 2, they signed the document. Eight days after that, the English King had a copy.

Following the natural rights theory of John Locke, the document proclaimed the equality of ‘all men’ and their ‘unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ Thomas Jefferson, helped by others, wrote that governments were established to secure these rights; when they failed to do so, the people could abolish them.

That last bit was a nice thought, but King George III would disagree.


And so, at the signing of the Declaration, John Hancock worried that some would lose heart and their fire for independence would wane. He said, “We must all hang together.”

Always the sharp wit, Benjamin Franklin smiled and said, “Or most assuredly we will all hang separately.”

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The love between a father and his child

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Across the country, families will be celebrating Father’s Day on June 20th this year. This is the day when you can tell your dad how much you love him. It’s also a great time to show him how grateful you are for everything he has done for you.

He taught you how to ride a bike. He helped you with your homework and encouraged you to work hard and succeed. He listened when you were going through tough times and found words of comfort. He guided you and showed you the “right path.” He shared his positive values. He showed his love for you in a million ways. Now is the time to let him know that you appreciate and love him.

If he has given you that much, it is because he, too, benefitted enormously from the love that ties him to you. Contact with his children provides a father with intense happiness and incomparable satisfaction. He also becomes a better person thanks to this special contact. It makes him more aware of his emotions, and he learns how to express his feelings. He makes a connection with the world of children that helps him stay young.

This relationship of mutual benefits serves to bring a father and his children closer. This is a link that will never be broken. Regardless of the age of your father, show him all the tenderness that you feel for him and celebrate Father’s Day with love and happiness.


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How to celebrate Dad with a special meal

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This year for Father’s Day, celebrate your dad by offering him a meal he’ll savor and enjoy. Here are a few different ways you can spoil him at suppertime.

• Five-course dinner. Offer Dad a whole gastronomical experience starting with an amuse-bouche followed by an appetizer. After, serve up a delicious main course. Then, set out a cheese plate before ending with his favorite dessert.

• Barbecue. If the weather’s nice, take advantage of it by cooking outside on the grill. Choose a dish that suits Dad’s tastes and matches your culinary talents, whether it’s burgers, surf, and turf, perfectly seasoned ribs, or a variety of skewers.

• Catered affair. Opt for a meal you don’t have to cook by hiring a local catering company. This is also a great option if you can’t see your father in person. You can select a supper he likes and have it delivered to his home.



• Restaurant. Dining out is a simple way to celebrate the occasion. In addition to their regular fare, many restaurants create special Father’s Day menus. If you prefer to eat at home, order a meal for pickup or delivery.

To serve Dad a meal he’ll remember, there’s no shortage of options. Just be sure to plan ahead, so you can be certain he’ll have all his favorites.

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Father’s Day is June 20th: A gift for every type of dad

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If you’re wondering what to get your dad for Father’s Day, it’s a good idea to consider his hobbies and interests. Here are some suggestions for different kinds of dads.

The movie buff
If space permits, your dad might appreciate a vintage film projector or studio lamp. Alternatively, consider getting him a movie-themed trivia game, a scratch-off poster, or a collectible figurine from his favorite flick. There are also many great reads about film history and culture.

The chef
One way to impress a dad who loves to cook is by spoiling him with new kitchen accessories. Consider buying him a quality cutting board, Japanese chef knives, barbecue utensils, or a new apron. If your dad has a green thumb, another option is to get him potted herbs he can grow outside or in the kitchen.

The collector
If your dad is a stamp enthusiast, he’ll likely appreciate a magnifier to help with identification or a UV lamp to assist with observing phosphorescent markings. For the father who collects coins, consider getting him a rare or commemorative piece, a specialized storage album, a magnification loupe, or a cleaning bath for his coins.


The outdoorsman
The dad who enjoys spending time in nature is likely to welcome getting a set of hiking poles, an engraved compass, a pair of waterproof binoculars, or a wilderness survival handbook. Alternatively, check to see if some of his camping, hunting, or fishing gear could use an upgrade.

The music lover
For the dad with a passion for music, buy a water-resistant portable speaker, wireless headphones, or a guitar pick maker. Alternatively, get him a music-themed keepsake such as a wall clock depicting his favorite band, drink coasters that look like CDs or records, or cuff links shaped like a treble clef or the instrument he plays.

For more Father’s Day gift ideas, visit the specialty stores in your area to find one-of-a-kind products and services.

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Upcoming Events

Jul
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9:00 am Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Jul 30 @ 9:00 am – Aug 3 @ 12:00 pm
Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Stop Motion Animation Experiment with video production through a variety of mediums including Claymation, LEGO® Minifigures, pipe cleaner creatures, and much more! Ninjas will capture images frame-by-frame and produce videos in a rapid prototyping style.[...]
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9:00 am Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Rob... @ Code Ninjas
Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Rob... @ Code Ninjas
Aug 2 @ 9:00 am – Aug 6 @ 12:00 pm
Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Roblox Developer @ Code Ninjas
Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Roblox Developer In this hands-on, fully guided camp experience, ninjas learn the basics of game building and creative development in an exciting, user-generated online gaming platform called Roblox! This camp will[...]
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9:00 am Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Rob... @ Code Ninjas
Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Rob... @ Code Ninjas
Aug 3 @ 9:00 am – Aug 7 @ 12:00 pm
Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Roblox Developer @ Code Ninjas
Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Roblox Developer In this hands-on, fully guided camp experience, ninjas learn the basics of game building and creative development in an exciting, user-generated online gaming platform called Roblox! This camp will[...]
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9:00 am Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Rob... @ Code Ninjas
Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Rob... @ Code Ninjas
Aug 4 @ 9:00 am – Aug 8 @ 12:00 pm
Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Roblox Developer @ Code Ninjas
Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Roblox Developer In this hands-on, fully guided camp experience, ninjas learn the basics of game building and creative development in an exciting, user-generated online gaming platform called Roblox! This camp will[...]
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Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Rob... @ Code Ninjas
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Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Roblox Developer @ Code Ninjas
Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Roblox Developer In this hands-on, fully guided camp experience, ninjas learn the basics of game building and creative development in an exciting, user-generated online gaming platform called Roblox! This camp will[...]
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Potential UNLOCKED: Become a Roblox Developer In this hands-on, fully guided camp experience, ninjas learn the basics of game building and creative development in an exciting, user-generated online gaming platform called Roblox! This camp will[...]
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9:00 am Waggin’ For Dragons @ Front Royal Golf Club
Waggin’ For Dragons @ Front Royal Golf Club
Aug 7 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Waggin' For Dragons @ Front Royal Golf Club
Our Annual Dragon Boat race is back and better this ever, because we’ve got some special friends joining us! Our race teams, made of local community and business groups, will be racing and raising that[...]
11:00 am Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 7 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Stop by the Friends of Sky Meadows Farmer’s Market for tasty preserved products, heirloom vegetables, eggs and more. Pick from seasonal vegetables grown in Sky Meadows’ authentic Kitchen Garden, July through September. Grab[...]
12:00 pm Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 7 @ 12:00 pm – Aug 8 @ 3:00 pm
Settle's Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Follow your nose to the Log House to see what tasty treats are cooking on the hearth. Watch as a Sky Meadows volunteer or ranger dons historic clothing and cooks delicious dishes using[...]
12:00 pm The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 7 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Blacksmith Shop in the Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and[...]