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Cascades and CountrySide Blog: A spooky wind blows through eastern Loudoun
With autumn leaves dancing through the air, the season of scares is full upon us this week.

There are three nights left to experience the 2016 edition of The Haunted Forest at Halloween Woods in Algonkian Regional Park – Oct. 28, 29 and 31. This year’s frightfest includes new designs for the haunted asylum and the haunted trail. The creaky gates open at 7 p.m. Tickets will be sold until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and until 10 p.m. on Halloween. In case of weather concerns, check the event’s Facebook page for closings or rain delays at facebook.com/TheHauntedForest.

The Dominion High School Theatre Department offers some age-appropriate Halloween festivities on Oct. 29 with “The Haunted Carnival.” The carnival, for ages 10 and older, takes place in the school auditorium from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission is $8. The younger set – under 10 years of age – have their own pumpkin patch, with games, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Admission is $6. Children under 10 should be accompanied by an adult.

Dulles Town Center expands its Malloween tradition on Oct. 29 with a spooky Halloween magic show for youngsters presented by Count Trickula at 11 a.m. in Center Court. In addition, free horse-drawn hay rides for the kiddies will be available at the mall’s main entrance. Youngsters also can participate in Halloween arts and crafts in The Eatery food court and trick-or-treat at candy cauldrons located throughout the mall. The Malloween festivities will be underway from 10 a.m. until noon on Oct. 29.

If you prefer a tamer version of Halloween focused on home décor, check out the nights of lights in CountrySide. The winners of the community’s Halloween house-decorating contest will be announced this week, offering some glowing roadside attractions for a comfy walk or ride through the area’s Belmont, Foxfield, Morven, Oakridge, Oatlands, Rokeby and Welbourne neighborhoods.

Recruiting Girl Scouts

Take a break from the pumpkins and the ghosts to find out all about the Girl Scout programs in eastern Loudoun during a special meet-and-greet at the Loudoun County Public Library at Cascades on Oct. 29. The three service units covering the area – including CountrySide, Cascades, Lowes Island, Sugarland Run and Sterling Park – invite girls in grades K through 12 to stop by to see how the Girl Scout program can help them learn more about the world. The event takes place at the library from 1 to 3 p.m. Advance registration is not required.
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Sterling Blog: Playing the field
The 12U Lower Loudoun Girls Softball League Baseliners brought home their first tournament championship this past weekend. Courtesy Photo

If you go over to Sully Elementary or Claude Moore Park in the evening, you’ll see a number of young women being awesome. They’ll be hitting balls far into the outfield, pitching strikes and catching that fly no one thought could be caught. In short, they’ll be being softball players.

Now you might think softball – that’s a spring sport, right? Not actually. Around here, softball is a year-around thing. This season, there’s a new band of sheriffs in town – the 12U Lower Loudoun Girls Softball League Baseliners. Joining their elders (we have two 18U Baseliners), this band of young women formed this summer after three days of tryouts and more than a few broken hearts. Despite only being together two months, this past weekend, the players brought home their first tournament championship.

Travel softball (like all travel sports) functions a wee bit differently than recreation league play. Rather than one or two practices a week, you have two or three. Rather than games, you have weekend tournaments. On Oct. 15 and 16, the Baseliners (all three teams) played in the Breast Cancer Awareness National Invitational Tournament. One-hundred and twenty-six teams, unless my count is off, competed at fields in Sterling and Ashburn. Our teams did amazing. Our newest Baseliners won the 12U C Silver bracket, while one of our 18U teams (coached by Tim Lieb) won the 18U B Silver bracket by beating out the other 18U Baseliner team (coached by Peter Grittini).

Congratulations to our local athletes who played a minimum of five games over the weekend to come home as champions. And thank you to our local businesses, including Glory Days (where the victorious 12U team celebrated), who step up to support these athletes. Want to get your daughter involved in softball? You can learn more about LLGSL by going to their website at llgsl.com. Or ask me about it at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

While you’re counting balls and strikes, do not forget that this weekend is Sterling Playmakers opening of “Great Stage of Fools,” written by our own local playwright-actor-director, Keaton Crowe. You have four chances to see this original show about a group of Shakespearean characters trying to figure out who is killing them off -- before their show ends … forever. The show will open at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 at the theatre at Sterling Middle School. Can’t make Friday? Come Saturday, Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. You can also catch the last show on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at sterlingplaymakers.com or at the door.

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Cascades and CountrySide Blog: ‘Trick or Treat’ premieres this weekend
The “Trick or Treat” cast from left to right: Alexandria Backer, Clayton Olson, Jennifer (Addie) Schafer, Sonia Bronder, Jeffrey Cates and Jennifer Reitz. Photo Courtesy/Portraits by Bronder
“Trick or Treat,” a new interactive murder mystery written by CountrySide resident Terry Smith and produced by the StageCoach Theatre Co., makes its debut Oct. 16 at the Leesburg Brewing Co. The show, featuring special magic tricks, focuses on a return to the stage by three great magicians. Performances also are scheduled for the Bungalow Lakehouse in Sterling on Oct. 23, the Salamander Resort in Middleburg at noon Oct. 30 and Savoir Fare in Round Hill on Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. The show continues in November, with performances Nov. 5 at Bright Box in Winchester and Nov. 6 at the Waterford Foundation Old School. Reservations are required. Information is available online at http://www.stagecoachtc.com.

The Gathering

The Military Officers Association of America presents two lecture sessions open to the public this month at Falcons Landing. On Oct. 13, Wolfgang W.E. Samuel, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, will talk about his life as a young boy in Germany, his immigration to America at age 16, his highly-decorated military career in the U.S. Air Force and his autobiography, titled “German Boy.” On Oct. 20, the organization presents a discussion session titled “Meeting the Challenges of Defense Acquisition for Cutting-Edge Systems for Our Nation’s Security.” Both sessions begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Falcons Landing ballroom. Refreshments and fellowship follow the meetings.

Shred it

CountrySide, Cascades and Great Falls Chase have joined together to hold a free paper-shredding event and electronics recycling opportunity from 9 a.m. until noon on Oct. 15 in the Parkway Pool parking lot at 46020 Algonkian Blvd. Participants may bring up to five boxes (up to 10-by-12-by-15 inches in size) of paper for shredding and five electronics items per vehicle or household. Binder clips must be removed from paper and boxes cannot be left at the recycling site.

Fall festival rescheduled

The Cascades Fall Festival takes place Oct. 22 from noon to 4 p.m. in the parking lot at Potomac Falls High School. The festivities include hayrides, a petting zoo, pumpkin painting, food, games, craft and merchandise vendors and musicians – including students from the Ashburn School of Rock. A $1 activity fee will be charged for carnival games, moon bounces, mechanical bull riding, face painting and balloon artistry. The event was originally scheduled to take place on Oct. 8 but was moved due to the rainy weather expected on that day.

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Sterling Blog: Sterling’s got talent
Sterling Blog: SterlingFest this Saturday!
Cascades and CountrySide Blog: History about everyone, for everyone at the African American museum
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Sterling Blog: Great stage of colonial softball
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