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MSO's Salute to independence set for today at Antietam

July 07, 2007

The 22nd annual Salute to Independence presented by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra will be today at Antietam National Battlefield.

The MSO concert will begin at 7:30 p.m., and fireworks are scheduled to begin about 9:45 p.m.

There is no admission fee to the park, but donations will be accepted. Half of the money collected sponsors the event, and half goes to preserve the battlefield.

The park's visitors center will be open today from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Several of the park roads will not be available to tour after 3 p.m., Chief Ranger Ed Wenschhof said.

Parking is available in the park, and additional parking can be found along Md. 65 and Md. 34, which border the park.

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The County Commuter will provide shuttle-bus service from 3 to 11:30 p.m. from the parking lot at National Cemetery on Md. 34 to the concert grounds, but there still will be a 300-yard walk. The cost for the shuttle bus is $2 per person round trip.

Those attending the event are advised to wear comfortable shoes, bring a blanket, plenty of water or soft drinks and a flashlight. Food and drinks will be sold.

No grills, no pets and no soliciting will be allowed. Canopies and beach umbrellas are permitted, but must be taken down before the concert.

In fairness to others and for security reasons, the battlefield has set up rules regarding people laying tarps or blankets out for the concert.

·Tarps cannot be placed before today at 6 a.m. Tarps placed earlier than this will be removed. Superintendent John Howard said Friday that notices about the restriction had been widely publicized in media reports and at the battlefield and no one had disobeyed it.

·Tarps not occupied by today at 7 p.m. will be removed.

·Tarps or reserved areas per group are to be no larger than 10 feet by 10 feet.

Park officials recommend visitors label their property with their name. If park officials remove their tarp, it can be found at the information booth at the top of the hill, Wenschhof said.

Those attending can expect a minimum of a 60- to 90-minute traffic delay when leaving the event.

For information, go to www.nps.gov/anti/salute.htm or www.marylandsymphony.org.

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