Lounging in lawn chairs, Susan Plitt and 14 other family members had the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster almost to themselves yesterday afternoon.
While waiting for last night's fireworks show, the Plitts, from different parts of Carroll County, grilled hamburgers, ate chips, drank cold sodas and listened to a country music band.
The heat -- according to thermometers in a vendor's booth it was 112 degrees about 2 p.m. -- kept the crowds from the farm museum's Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration yesterday afternoon. About 1: 30 p.m., 90 minutes after the gates opened for the 25th annual event, a few hundred people were scattered around the 140-acre farm.
Dottie Freeman, museum administrator, expected about 15,000 people for the fireworks show that began about 9: 30 p.m. under cooler temperatures.
The fireworks show is co-sponsored by the Westminster Jaycees and costs $12,500.
Vendors said they expected a lot of business last night when the crowd arrived for the fireworks.
"That's when people stake out the place and get their ice cream and cotton candy," said scoutmaster John Rush of Troop 381 in Westminster, which operated two food booths at the event.
Dressed in army green shorts and a Troop 381 baseball hat, Rush, 74, said he has been helping Scouts scoop popcorn at the event for more than 20 years. Troop 381 also sells soda and bottled water.
The early spectators did not need a reminder to seek shade. They planted lawn chairs under the trees that allowed for the best views of the fireworks show.
An early arrival was Mike Gloth of Finksburg, who said he couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.
"My family sailed down to the Inner Harbor and it's hot and really crowded," he said, while watching his 2-year-old daughter clamber aboard a wooden train.
Yesterday was the third year in a row that the Gloth family celebrated Independence Day at the farm museum.
Dressed in red, white and blue, Gloth's girls -- the others are 5 and 7 -- had climbed on the playground equipment, visited the farm's zoo and rode on a mule-drawn wagon by 3 p.m. They went home for a nap and were to return for the fireworks.
During the event, quilters, blacksmiths and tin smiths were at work, country and Celtic music groups performed, and vendors sold Beanie Baby sleeping bags, hand towels, animal-shaped thermometers and other objects they made.
The thermometers made by Lawrence and Linda Roberts of Union Bridge did not sell well but engendered a lot of comment from stunned visitors.
"They kept asking "Is that right? '" Lawrence Roberts said.
The thermometers read 112 degrees.
Pub Date: 7/05/99