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Early rain doesn't dampen Long Meadow fireworks

July 03, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

With a misty sky as its stage, the annual Long Meadow fireworks display flashed colorfully.

The fireworks went on as planned despite showers that fell earlier in the evening.

About 1,500 people bustled around Long Meadow Shopping Center Wednesday night while others waited for the display from the beds of pickup trucks or from blankets spread along the lawns lining the shopping center's neighboring streets.

Madison Wilhide, 5, of Hagerstown, said she had been waiting all week for the fireworks display and her dad, Todd Wilhide, pointed out that she even got a special outfit for the occasion.

Madison, wearing a red rhinestone studded jean skirt and a white top with a sequin-decorated American flag, said she likes the fireworks for their colors, especially those that are purple.

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"They're pretty," she said.

It's the same love Madison has for the holiday that has kept Catherine Dorsey, 77, of Halfway, coming back to Long Meadow for as long as she can remember.

"I'm in my second childhood," she said. "What's the use in getting old."

Jennifer Ausbrooks, 27, of Greencastle, Pa., said she came out to introduce her 10-month-old son to the Fourth of July.

"I don't think he knows what's going on. I just hope he stays up," she said.

David Huntzberry, owner of Longmeadow Eyecare, said the fireworks display was put on by the Long Meadow Merchants Association, but a few stores on the outskirts of the shopping center contributed to putting on the $10,000 show.

Dick Miller, owner of Long Meadow Liquors, had a table set up outside his store with chips and drinks for sale.

Miller, who said he sets up the stand to keep younger kids from entering the store, said he was disappointed in Wednesday's turnout, which he said was much smaller than in years past.

The band Spectrum played outside the former Routzahn's building, which is now vacant.

For people like Hagerstown resident Kam Feld, the Long Meadow fireworks display was just the beginning of her July Fourth weekend, which will include a trip to Washington, D.C., on Friday to see the fireworks on the National Mall.

She said she likes the Long Meadow fireworks because parking is easy to find.

"Long Meadow tries to put on a good show and I like to support that," she said.

Kenny Smith, 33, of Williamsport, said his son asked to see the fireworks, but added that Long Meadow won't be their last show.

"We'll probably go set some off ourselves, too," he said.

Smith said the fireworks aren't the only thing bringing him out on the Fourth of July.

"Independence," he said. "It's what everybody fought for."

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