FRIDAY, DEC. 27

Book-signing by Townsend author: Amy Leigh (Albro) Strickland is an independent writer and teacher from Townsend. She has a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a M.Ed. from the University of Montevallo. Amy currently lives outside Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Kyle, and their rescued dogs, Apollo and Linus. Amy has published five books to date: Olympia Heights: The Pantheon; Olympia Heights: The Weight of the World; Olympia Heights: The Blood of Athens; Kissing Corpses; and Rescue OR, Royer Goldhawk's Remarkable Journal. Join Strickland Dec. 27 from 2-3 p.m. at the Townsend Public Library where she'll answer questions, discuss her experience with independent publishing, and sign copies of her books.

SUNDAY, DEC. 29

Breakfast: 8-11 a.m., Ayer Sportsman's Club, 255 Snake Hill Road, Ayer. Public welcome. French toast, specials, pancakes, eggs, free juice and coffee. Proceeds benefit children's programs. Room rentals also available. Call 978-772-9748.

Multi-church Festival of Lessons and Carols: Groton School, Farmers Row, Groton, 10 a.m.

Celebrating 65 years of marriage: Mary and Ed West are celebrating 65 years of marriage on Dec. 29, 2013. They would love to celebrate with their friends. Please come for refreshments and to say Hi! at Townsend Congregational Church assembly hall on Dec. 29, 2-4:30 p.m.

NEW YEAR'S DAY

New Year's Day hike: noon. Annual New Year's Day Hike at the Oxbow Refuge. Walk off some of the extra calories collected during the holidays and hike or snowshoe the trails near the main entrance to the refuge, while meeting up with old friends and making new ones. If there is enough snow, it should be possible to use cross-country skis. We'll start from the parking lot at the end of Still River Depot Road in Harvard. For information contact Rona at 978-779-2259 or Ada at ada.friendsoftheoxbownwr@gmail.com. The event is free and open to the public. Reminder: No dogs allowed on national refuges.

SATURDAY, JAN. 4

New England Contra Dance: Celebrate the New Year with your friends at Groton Grange #7 as we present a traditional New England Contra Dance on Saturday, Jan. 4, from 7:30-10 p.m. at Historic Groton Grange Hall, 80 Champney St. This will be an evening of live music and dancing with Groton's own Contra Banditos along with caller Tony Parks. Tony will teach traditional New England style contra, square and line dances to the beat of old time fiddle tunes. Beginners are welcome, no experience is necessary. Donation at the door is $5 children under 5 years old are free, family maximum is $20. Refreshments are provided.

For information visit www.grotongrange.com or 978-448-3418.

SUNDAY, JAN. 5

Masons Breakfast: The Ayer Masonic Association will hold its monthly fundraising breakfast at the Ayer Masonic Center, 11 Sculley Road, Ayer. Breakfast will be served from 7:30-10 a.m. Menu includes eggs cooked to order or pancakes with bacon or sausage, potatoes, toast, juice and coffee. In addition to the usual menu as outlined above, specials for this month are Eggs Benedict and a Greek omelet (spinach, tomatoes, and Feta cheese). Come early and bring your friends.

TUESDAY, JAN. 7

ASRHS winter concert: The ASRHS band and choir present their winter concert Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Come enjoy the sounds of the season and hear what's going on in the arts at ASRHS. Admission is free.

THURSDAY, JAN. 9

Take a look morning: Applewild School (coeducational independent K-8 day school serving families in central MA and southern NH) is hosting an Open House. Parents are invited to tour the school and see teachers and students in action. The morning program also includes parents who are interested the year-round curriculum-based preschool and day care program at the Child Development Center at Applewild. Prospective parents are invited to meet at 9:00 AM at the Crocker Building, 120 Prospect St., Fitchburg, MA. No RSVP necessary. For more information please call the Admission Office, 978-342-6053 ext. 110 or visit www.applewild.org.

Coming in February...

An Evening of Songs with Robbie O'Connell, Saturday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m.

Celtic and traditional songs plus a few love songs for February, 7 p.m. social, 7:30 p.m. concert. Light refreshments. Center on the Common, 7 Fairbanks, Harvard. Reservations recommended. Ticket link at www.centeronthecommon.org. General info 508-245-5197. Artist web page: www.robbieoconnell.com. $18 in advance. $20 same day. Limited seating.

SUNDAY, JAN. 11

Monty Tech practical nursing program hold open: Monty Tech's Practical Nursing program will hold an open house Saturday, Jan. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon, in the school's cafeteria. Those interested in jump starting a career in nursing are urged to find out more about the 10-month, hands-on practical nursing curriculum. Faculty, current students and alumni will be present to answer questions about the program and career opportunities available to graduates. Fnancial aid is available, and the G.I. Bill is accepted. Information about the current bachelor's degree bridge program with Fitchburg and Worcester state universities will be available. For information, call 978-345-9200, ext. 5220. Snow date is Saturday, Jan. 25. Monty Tech is located at 1050 Westminster St., Route 2A, at the Fitchburg-Westminster line.

Youth Choir 'Informance': 11 a.m. Come to a free Demo-Performance of 'Cantori Scolari' -- our youth choir for ages 8 to grade 12 at Indian Hill Music School, 36 King Street (Route 495/Exit 30), Littleton. Learn about the program, meet the director, ask questions, register for next term. FREE. Learn more at 978-486-9524 or www.indianhillmusic.org.