With the sun bearing down on the sixth annual Family Fun Fest and Multi-Ethnic Fair, Susan Vogelsang knew where to turn for relief.

After talking her buddies at the Cub Scout Troop 636 soda stand into dumping ice water down her back, she joined the kiddies wading in the fountain in the Arundel Center North plaza.

"Take your shoes off and come in. It's cool in here," the Glen Burnie woman called out. Her son splashed her with water but she didn'tcare -- she came dressed in a bathing suit and cut-offs.

A veteran of three previous ethnic fairs, Vogelsang knew the routine. She scanned the spread of food and craft stands, thought for a second and decided the Greek gyros would be her choice for lunch. With ethnic dishes from Bavarian bratwurst to Cajun chicken, from fajitas to fried rice calling, the hot dogs and hamburgers could wait.

A crowd estimated by police at 15,000 turned out for yesterday's fair, which was advertised with the slogan, "It's a small world."

There was dancing,including the polka and the hula. There was international fashion, including men in kilts from the Robert Burns Society of Annapolis and a woman in African dress from the Kunta Kinte High Heritage Days Festival.

And there was music, everything from big band to Irish musicto rock. In fact, it may have been an ethnic fair, but the U.S. ArmyField Band "Volunteers" got things started early with an American rock 'n' roll classic, "Johnny B. Goode."

The fair also provided thecounty government with a chance to explain to people just what it does. Kathy Shatt, a community services specialist for the county, said, "The purpose of the event is to bring government out to the people."

County animal control officials brought kittens and puppies and a pig who looked pooped lying in the sun. There was a model of a storm water management pond and there was the chance to tour the inside of an air-conditioned Mass Transit Administration bus.

Just about every agency in county government set up some sort of display and someused costumed characters to attract children's attention.

For instance, Chester the Library Dog encouraged reading and Woodsy Owl discouraged littering. And everyone knows Smokey Bear's stance on forest fires; he's against them.

One character had no government affiliation, but that did not stop him from working the crowd and pushing hissave-the-bay message.

Captain Seaweed, along with his first mate Recycle Michael, handed out stickers reading, "I'm a mate living for a cleaner environment."

Captain Seaweed wore a white naval uniform, complete with medals and bars and a white cap on a head with green mop strands for hair. In a brief interview, he said, "I'm green in color because the water is so polluted. I hope I can get back to my natural state, which is crystal clear."

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