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Museum to celebrate 4th early this year on 1st


An old-fashioned patriotic salute to the Fourth of July will be celebrated at Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster tomorrow, the First of July.

Since the farm museum began sponsoring the Independence Day event about 25 years ago, this will be the first time the celebration is to be held July 1 instead of the traditional Independence Day.

"We've been getting irate calls because of plans made by families coming into town and their picnics," said Dottie Freeman, museum administrator.

The organizers said the change is for the best.

More people can attend on a weekend, they said, and planners can maintain their sanity, as one official put it.

"No one understands how much time it takes to do this," said Charlie Zincon of Westminster, a former Jaycees chairman of the fireworks display, which traditionally concludes the daylong festivities.

"We're liable for $10,000 going up in the air for a 40- to 45-minute span. We're there at 6 a.m. to set up, paint lines for parking, prepare the grounds and set out the barrels. Last year, cleanup was until 1 or 2 a.m. Some of us get up at 4 or 5 a.m. to go to our jobs. That is one of the reasons we moved it. For our sanity, plus our jobs' sake."

Added Ms. Freeman, "We apologize to anyone who is upset. The calendar has been out for a year announcing the Saturday date."

The "realization hit early," and the change was made last year after volunteers saw how long it took to clean up the 75-acre grounds, Mr. Zincon said. The county's only fireworks display draws 10,000 to 15,000 spectators.

"Attendance is a big thing," he said. "We feel it will be greater on a weekend. People will be able to stay and enjoy the fireworks. In past years, people have left 15 minutes into the show to get home and beat the traffic."

Events will run from noon to dusk. The fireworks show, put on by Westminster Jaycees, begins at 9:30 p.m. This is the 19th year the organization has sponsored the pyrotechnic display.

But the public is invited to spend the entire day on the museum grounds. Old-time events, such as three-legged races and sack races, will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Mason-Dixon Historical Society will sponsor a children's pedal pull, featuring children riding miniature John Deere tractors pulling weights from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

An Old-fashioned Fashion Show will take place from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in the Flower and Herb Garden at the rear of the farmhouse.

The show will feature men's and women's attire from the late 1800s.

"One person will wear an old-fashioned wedding gown," Ms. Freeman said. "For the first time in many years, the farm museum will be opening its doors to weddings and we thought this would be a good way to show how beautiful weddings are here."

Food booths will be scattered throughout the grounds with traditional Fourth of July fare such as fried chicken and pit beef prepared by the Knights of Columbus; hot dogs and hamburgers at the Roaring Run Lions Club stand; pizza by Westminster Optimist Club; snowballs from Pleasant Valley Recreation Council; fresh fruit sold by Deep Run and Horse Force 4-H clubs; ice cream offered by Boy Scout Troop 381; sausage sandwiches prepared by Tundra Hunt Club; and french fries by Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church.

Entertainment will feature local showman Jerry Brown's portrayal Uncle Sam. Barbershop quartets also will stroll the area singing patriotic tunes and old favorites.

The lineup of entertainment includes:

* Noon, the opening of festivities, with the "The Star-Spangled Banner" sung by Victoria Fowler, curator at the farm museum.

* 12:30 p.m., Freewheeling, country music.

* 2 p.m., Carroll County Cloggers.

* 3 p.m., Paddyfields and Johnny Dark, country music followed by a musical patriotic salute.

* 4:30 p.m., Wherligig, an Irish/American folk music band.

* 5:30 p.m., Jerry Brown and his vaudeville act.

* 6 p.m., Prestige Cable/History Channel World War II salute to veterans and commemoration of the 50th anniversary of World War II.

* 6:30 p.m., Paradise Club, bluegrass music.

* 7:30 p.m., Tir Na Mhairi Pipes and Drums Marching Unit, until 9 p.m.

* 9:30 p.m., the fireworks display.

The World War II ceremony will honor county veterans of the conflict.

Plaques will be presented by County Commissioner Donald I. Dell to veterans who were contacted through local Veterans of Foreign War posts.

Ms. Freeman said the ceremony will be a "great" addition to the day.

"All the pomp and circumstance will be there," she said.

The Paddyfields, a trio, will change their costumes after their country show to do a medley of patriotic songs.

"They almost sound like the Andrews Sisters and they do a salute to those in the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines," Ms. Freeman said.

Mr. Dark, a former Baltimore radio personality, will narrate the program.

Craft vendors will sell hand-crafted items, including pottery, leather and wood crafts, stenciled items, fabric crafts and other assorted crafts.

The farm museum's General Store will be open from noon to 8 p.m., selling hand-crafted items, nickel candy and souvenirs. Mule-drawn wagon rides will be available.

A $4 parking fee per car will be taken beginning at 6 p.m. for people coming just to watch the fireworks.

General admission to daytime activities is $3 for adults and $2 for ages 7 to 18 and 60 and over. Children 6 and under will be admitted free.

Visitors should bring blankets or lawn chairs, officials said.

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