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Residents try to keep cool during holiday

July 07, 2002|by Liz Boch

lizb@herald-mail.com

With three children under the age of 10, Sarah Bromfield said the most important thing about an extended holiday weekend is keeping the kids busy.

"On the Fourth, we went to the pool and then a big cookout and watched the fireworks," she said. "I was hoping to squeeze in a carnival, but I think I did all right."

Some Washington County residents occupied their families indoors on July 4 and waited until cooler weather this weekend to celebrate with trips around town.

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Matt Ridenour and his wife, Michelle, took their two boys, Zachary, 4, and Joshua, 15 months, to the Hagerstown City Park on Saturday once the heat wave simmered down.

"This is a nice change," Ridenour said. "You don't have to shower every 10 minutes. With all the congestion from family on Thursday, we wanted to take a break and feed the fish, touch the fish and almost fall in."

Clara Oberholzer said she waited until Saturday to celebrate July 4 with a picnic dinner on a park bench underneath a tree.

"We're just getting away for the evening," she said. "It was so hot on July 4 and we mowed grass all day."

Staying cool is of utmost importance to area residents, according to Fairgrounds Park guard Richard Herrington.

Herrington said Saturday afternoon that more people would be out walking in the evening.

"Heat keeps people away from jogging," he said.

Ralph Axen, manager of the Claude M. Potterfield Pool, said heat packs people in.

"We had over 400 people here on Thursday and 450 on Friday," he said. "Even though some families are on vacation, it's still a normal amount coming here."

Amanda Peck brought her 2-year-old son, Logan, and 6-year-old daughter, Zoey, to the pool to top off their holiday weekend.

"Both my kids are water babies," she said. "They love to swim and this is the end of our weekend except maybe for a cookout."

Aside from the hot weather, residents said teaching their children the meaning behind the holiday was important.

Linda Kough said Sept. 11 came up in conversation among her extended family Thursday.

"We talk about morals all the time and July 4 is just another opportunity to talk about it," she said.

Peck said one of her children is old enough to understand the holiday and she plans to teach her youngest when he is older.

"With Sept. 11, it's changed things and they want to know about the holiday," she said.

For the children, the best aspect of the weekend remained having fun.

Zachary Ridenour, 4, said he enjoyed himself in spite of the heat when his father took him to the park.

"I fed the ducks corn and played on the playground," he said. "The park has cool toys. I touched a fish and it sucked on my finger."

Johnathon Mansfield, 6, said he swam in the pool all weekend and also fed the ducks at the Hagerstown City Park.

"I will play tomorrow, too," he said - despite his father, Kevin, vowing to take the family to church instead.

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