The Carroll County Farm Museum continued its annual Fourth of July celebration Wednesday, mixing a little history with modern, family-friendly fun.
The bustling children’s crafts and activities areas featured Farmyard Friends, a balloon artist, face painting, a bouncy house and other activities, while food vendors served everything from funnel cake to pulled pork. Many have been at the event for years.
The band Crawdaddies played an outdoor stage, spilling a little bit of Cajun sound into the celebration.
Melissa Le Roux, of Lutherville, came with her family to the event because of all the activities for children before the fireworks show.
“We could have gone to Towson, but I don’t like the congestion,” she said as the family enjoyed a dinner of gourmet hot dogs while camped out on a picnic blanket on the lawn.
For Bonnie Beurer, of Westminster, it was a first time at the celebration, but she and friends made sure to come at 3 p.m., just as the grounds opened, in order to stake out a spot near the band’s stage and a group of trees.
Wearing a red, white and blue headband, she planned to “sit here and relax and enjoy myself,” until the fireworks began, she said.
Some guests took the time to learn a little of the history of Independence Day through daytime activities. Docents welcomed people into the museums historic farmhouse exhibit to see what life was like in the 1880s and catch a little bit of air conditioning.
Outside, Rick Barrick, dressed in historical clothing, gave demonstrations of chair rushing and caning.
“I eat, sleep, drink history,” said Barrick, who has been a re-enactor since his teenage years when he fell in love with the Civil War era.
“I wish that more of our young people were interested in our history,” he said. “Heritage is very important. You should know where you came from.”
Near the children’s area and moon bounce, Carroll County group The Kitchen Table Ladies were set up.
A replica Declaration of Independence was waiting for kids to sign their own names and perhaps feel a bit of the revolutionary spirit of the Founding Fathers. There were also crafts like weaving and writing with quill pens to engage the young patriots.
Kathy Fuller said the group’s goal was to teach some history and encourage kids to think a little about the meaning of the holiday.
The Farm Museum and the Kiwanis Club have been pairing up for about nine years to host the celebration.
“The key for us is a safe-family friendly event,” said Manager of the Farm Museum Joanne Morvay Weant.
The Kiwanis Club does most of the fundraising for the fireworks, which are the biggest expense, at about $23,000 for a professional and safe show.
“I don’t know anywhere else you can go and see fire works for $5 per car,” Weant said.
Tom Welliver, fireworks chair for the Kiwanis Club, said providing a patriotic and family-friendly celebration fit within the Kiwanis mission of serving the children of the world.
Including volunteers, farm museum staff, law enforcement and fire presences, it takes more than 100 people to get the event off the ground.
“It’s very patriotic and very positive that that’s how we pull this all together,” Weant said.
The typical crowd each year on the Farm Museum grounds is about six to eight thousand people, not counting the thousands more that watch the high-altitude display from neighboring communities.
Welliver expected the numbers to be a little lower this year considering the holiday fell on a Wednesday.
Throughout the day, volunteers and organizers keep in touch via radio to keep of all the moving parts running smoothly, including looking out for rain that might be enough to disrupt the fireworks show.
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A short period of thunder shut down the festivities temporarily and guests were asked to wait in their cars shortly before 6 p.m.