Carroll County Farm Museum hosts traditional July 4 celebration

America's independence will be celebrated later this week with a day of festivities and a night filled with fireworks as the Carroll County Farm Museum continues its tradition of hosting a patriotic celebration.

Starting at noon on July 4, the museum will open its doors with the young Marines raising the flag and everyone singing the "Star-Spangled Banner."

"There will be entertainment throughout the day," said Dottie Freeman, park superintendent for the museum at 500 S. Center St. in Westminster. "Children's games, food, crafts and the little monkey ... we brought him back."

The little monkey belongs to Jim Brown, an entertainer from Lancaster, Pa., who portrays Uncle Sam at the event by donning a costume and putting on stilts.

"We had him a long time ago," Freeman said of Brown. "I love the little monkey man. I love to see the children's eyes light up when they see Uncle Sam so tall. The little monkey is so cute it's an added attraction."

Tours of the Alms House will also be available and the gift shop will be open.

For many, the highlight of the day is the fireworks display that night.

After almost not happening four years ago due to lack of funds, the fireworks were taken over by the Westminster Kiwanis and a mad dash to raise funds was put in place, according to Tom Welliver, chairman of the fireworks for the Kiwanis.

"I grew up right next to the Farm Museum," Welliver said. "There had to be a way to tweak it and a way to raise money better."

Thanks to donations by local businesses and residents, the fireworks were saved and a cushion was put in place for the future, Welliver said.

It typically costs $24,000 to pay for the show, security, portable restrooms and other amenities.

However, that cushion could disappear quickly, Welliver warned, should donations diminish or weather cancel a show.

"Bad weather is bad for us," Welliver said. "A cancellation right before could really hurt us."

The show will go on in a light mist, but thunderstorms and high winds would cancel it.

Due to the mulitiple factors involved with road closures, a rain date is not possible now, Welliver said.

"I'm not prepared to cancel this thing," Welliver said. "Hopefully, I will not have to make that call."

Freeman and Welliver stressed that everyone needs to be in place by 8:30 p.m as roads will close at that time.

"All of the vehicles must be in and parked," Freeman said. "People who want to view any of the fireworks can't be in a moving vehicle."

She encourages everyone to come to the Farm Museum and enjoy the activities before the show. At 5 p.m., general admission to the Farm Museum will close, and the Kiwanis will charge $5 a car to park.

"We hope people come and enjoy a relaxing picnic and the fireworks," Freeman said. "Everybody is invited. Bring your family. It is very affordable."

"It is a good thing for families to do together," Welliver said. "Turn this into our tradition."

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