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(Enlarge) Jim Saylor and his team gave rides throughout the day at the Carroll County Farm Museum during the annual Old-fashioned Fourth of July Celebration. (Photo by Grant Joyner)

By mid-afternoon on the Fourth of July, the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster was alive with activity.

People were listening to music at the outdoor stage, riding around the grounds in Jim Saylor's horse-drawn wagon, playing on the playground equipment, trying their hand at old-fashion games, getting their faces painted and sitting with friends and family to share food, drink and a little patriotic spirit.

In other words, it was just as museum director Dottie Freeman had hoped.

"Every year on the Fourth, I'm hoping that the farm museum is the No. 1 picnic place for families," said Freeman on Monday. "I think it is."

Freeman said the crowds for the museum's annual Old-fashioned Fourth of July Celebration traditionally build slowly throughout the day, then reach their height in the evening, when the fireworks display — sponsored by the Kiwanis Clubs of Carroll County — ignites over Westminster. On Monday, with no rain in the forecast, Freeman was hoping things would go off without a hitch.

During the day, the picnic atmosphere was evident, as families sprawled out across the museum grounds to find shady spots in the ancient trees.

Youngsters strolled over to try the Constitution games and quiz questions, hosted by New Renaissance in Education. The display noted such facts as the Maryland signers of the Declaration of Independence. (Hint: one of them is Carroll County's namesake.)

A steady stream of people also visited the craft vendors and food booths, some selling items from fresh lemonade and pit beef to kettle popcorn and funnel cakes.

Ellie Camlin, 23, was raised in Westminster, but has been away for two years in New York. She said she spent the last two Independence Days in Boston and Washington, D.C. — and was glad to be in Carroll County this year.

"I'm back home," said Camlin, after visiting a few minutes with "The Monkey Man," Jerry Brown, and his partner, monkey Django.

"It's a really nice change of pace," she said of the museum festivities. "You can actually move around."

"It's nice," said Clara Paris, who came to the celebration to have photos taken and sign autographs in her role as the reigning Mrs. Carroll County. She and husband, Jeremy, had the whole family in tow to enjoy the day — daughter Aliciannah, 2, Zach, 14, and Kenny Eidinger, 9.

"They've had fun," said Paris. "They visited with the monkey and (pet) the horses, and Kenny made a rocket over at the Cub Scout booth."

The museum is a beacon for Carroll County residents, but also a magnet for visitors as well.

Randy Sterner said he recalled bring his son, Brandon, to the museum some 15 years ago. On Monday he was there with his grandchildren, Lauren and Ashton Dellar, ages 5 and 7, respectively, who came with him to enjoy the day. They had food, toured the grounds and got called on stage to help Ray Owens perform his "Chicken Karaoke."

"That was fun," said Ashton after the performance.

"It's been great," added Sterner. "I like to do something with them that's educational; has some culture and history. It'll remind them of things we did together. It builds memories."

"That's music to the ears of Freeman, who said the Fourth of July is just one example of how the Carroll County Farm Museum tries to be a "living museum" — filled with activities throughout the year that keep families coming back.

For her, the Fourth of July is a particularly meaningful component of the museum's role in preserving the county's and the country's history.

"Really, what I enjoy is all the people — even adults — wearing their red, white and blue," she said. "If we could carry that spirit and those patriotic thoughts every day, that would make me happy."

Freeman said she gets choked up every year when the Carroll County Young Marines open the Fourth of July festivities by raising the flag. It reminds her of her husband, who served in the Vietnam era, and her son, who served in the Persian Gulf.

"When I see that flag raised and see Uncle Sam, it brings it back," she said. "That's why we try to make this like a big birthday party for our country."


The bombs were bursting in air tonight over the Carroll County Farm Museum in a fireworks show that seemed to start a tad early ... perhaps due a light drizzle that fell shortly after 9 p.m. But the drizzle stopped and the show was bright and long (almost as long as the traffic tie-ups leaving the area).

Did you attend?  If so, tell us what you thought of the fireworks display, and the whole day's events in Carroll County ...

user comments (1)

user busybee says...

In the paper you also have a picture of the Carroll County Cloggers but it is omitted from this article. Why? I am a Carroll County Clogger.




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