Clear Spring holiday celebration turns into 'big old country picnic'

July 03, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE |
  • Don and Jane Kriner of Clear Spring enjoy the music of Take Two while sitting under their umbrella during the annual Clear Spring Independence Jam on the grounds of Plumb Grove Mansion.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

CLEAR SPRING — Ominous dark clouds began rolling into the Clear Spring area around 5 p.m. Tuesday, as the town’s yearly Independence Day celebration got under way on the grounds of Plumb Grove Mansion.

A vendor at the seventh annual event, Sam Spinder of Old Country Kettle Korn, based in Greencastle, Pa., said it was his second year coming to the community festival, but he wasn’t worried about the weather forecast.

“Last year, it was kind of a similar day as it is today, but for about 30 minutes it poured like you couldn’t imagine,” Spinder said. “Then it stopped raining and the wind died down, and the sun came out, and it was just a beautiful night for fireworks.

“Our hope is that it’s going to be a repeat this year,” he said.

Spinder and more than 1,000 people hoping to see Clear Spring’s fireworks display got their wish, after a 75-minute thunderstorm that produced lightning blew through the area but cleared off by around 7:30 p.m., organizer Juanita Grimm said.


It was a different scene earlier as strong winds and heavy rains had people running to their cars about 6:15 p.m.

“Everybody’s back out, and they got their blankets down,” Grimm said when reached by phone after the rain stopped.

She said the passing storm was merely a bump in the road because Clear Spring’s Independence Jam is always highly attended by people throughout the Tri-State area. Everyone looks forward to the fireworks show, which is paid for solely through donations and lasts about 15 minutes, Grimm said.

The evening also included live music from five different bands, free children’s games until 8 p.m. and a number of local vendors, including free ice cream from Good Humor-Breyers of Hagerstown.

Many people also enjoy the fireworks from their homes, Grimm said.

“People have porch parties,” she said. “They don’t all come out to the grounds at Plumb Grove.”

Dana (Kriner) Beach of Forest Hill, Md., said she and her husband, Bill, came out to be with family and enjoy the fireworks. She wasn’t too worried about the prospect of stormy conditions.

“If it rains, so what?” said Beach, a 1978 graduate of Clear Spring High School. “Let it cool us off, but I think everybody’s going to have a good time.”

Steve Mooers of Clear Spring said he and his family have been coming to the town’s celebration every year since moving to the area from Hagerstown.

“This is the highlight of the summer right here,” Mooers said, as he, his wife, Kelli, and 10-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, enjoyed some french fries. “You get to see the people you may only see once a year here ... (and) you get the fireworks.”

After a little coaxing from dad, Mackenzie said: “I like the fireworks, and I like that I get to see my friends that after school’s out I don’t get to see a lot.”

With about 35 fireworks donors, including numerous area businesses and individuals, the event started as a way to bring the community together to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Organizers on the town’s Independence Jam Committee intend to keep it that way.

“It has turned into a big old country picnic,” said organizer Lori Divelbiss. “We want it to stay that way.”

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