Fireworks will light up the sky over Westminster on Sunday at the 30th annual old-fashioned July Fourth celebration at the Carroll County Farm Museum.
The fireworks display, scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m., will be the culmination of a daylong celebration that starts at noon. In previous years, up to 10,000 people have watched the display. This year's show will last about 45 minutes. The fireworks can be seen from other parts of the county, but the best viewing site is at the museum, coordinators said.
"It's definitely the biggest display for the area," said Jackie Koch, marketing assistant for the farm museum. "People come from all over, and I get comments that it only gets better every year."
She said the farm museum's celebration is unique because of the 19th-century-themed activities during the day. The event will feature onstage entertainment, arts and crafts stands, and mule-drawn wagon rides. Costumed artisans will demonstrate wood-carving and weaving. Guided tours of the farmhouse also will be available.
"It is generally a family atmosphere during the day, with something for everyone," Koch said.
Entertainment will begin at 1 p.m. and include the Old Line Statesmen Barbershop Chorus, Carroll County Cloggers, 4H Performing Arts, and two country music acts: the General Store Band, and Jay Henley and the Stone Broke Band.
Other attractions will include a large play area for children with a moon bounce and an Uncle Sam stilt walker. Visitors can take a picnic lunch or buy food at the event.
For the first time, the fireworks display is being sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Carroll County. The clubs have raised $15,000, plus $2,000 in pledges, during the past 12 weeks. The total estimated cost of the event is $18,000, with $13,200 going to pay for the fireworks.
The Rotary clubs took over the fund raising for the event after the Westminster Jaycees withdrew its support last spring. As a result, the farm museum had to borrow money from the county last year to put on the show.
"It has been a struggle to raise most of the money because I don't think people realize what this means to the community," said Joe Legge, chairman of the Rotary fireworks program and an owner of Four Seasons Sports Complex in Hampstead.
"My goal and the goal of the Rotary clubs is to bring the community together on something they can say is a good thing," Legge said.
One of the goals for the event should be for local groups to be able to generate revenue, he said.
Local Boy Scout troops will be in charge of cleanup after the celebration and will receive a donation for their service, as will other groups that volunteer.
To prevent backups and to ensure all visitors are parked by the 9:30 p.m. start, two roads, Center Street and Kate Wagner Road, will be closed to incoming traffic at 8:30 p.m.
From noon to 5 p.m., general admission is $3, $2 for ages 7 to 18 and for age 60 and over. Children age 6 and under will be admitted free. Starting at 5 p.m., the farm museum will charge a fee of $5 per car.
In the event of rain, the fireworks will be rescheduled for Monday, but the other events will be held Sunday regardless of the weather.