It was a day that would have been perfect for an old-fasioned ice cream social - warm sun, blue sky, brass bands and flags, picnickers by the pond, speeches and plenty of politicians.
In the small town of Upper Marlboro Saturday, they gathered to dedicate the county government's new home, known as the County Administration Building, and to celebrate "Marlborough Day" with music, crafts and dancing.
County residents were invited to tour the new building by County Executive Winfield M. Kelly Jr., who called the celebration "Jacksonian."
"Everybody can come in and go through it," he said during the dedication. "This new building brings to us a means to deliver our services efficiently. It's all here now in one building. If you have a problem, you can come here and most of the time, we're all here to help you."
Many accepted Kelly's invitation. And the most popular stop was the county executive's own offices, where steady streams of residents checked out Kelly's private back office, small kitchen and veranda overlooking the pond. Earlier Kelly had quipped, "It is complete, but without the sauna."
The dedication ceremony drew several gubernatorial hopefuls, including Lt. Gov. Blair Lee, Comptroller Louis Goldstein and State Sen. Steny Hoyer, Reps. Gladys Spellman (D-Md.) and Marjorie Holt (R-Md.), Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), Secretary of State Fred Wineland and many county delegates, council members and school board representatives appeared, smiling, waving and greeting the crowd and each other. Members of the county SWAT's emergency services team watched over all, somewhat conspicuous in their Secret Service-type sunglasses and well-pressed jackets.
Only a few hundred people strolled through the craft exhibits, food stands and concert area set up around the building and on the street.
Neill and Jeffery Rowland of Upper Marlboro had their faces painted like Batman and Spiderman by members of the Community Theater Associates. Other children took train rides through town and watched clowns make animal shapes out of balloons.
Visitors applauded Lisa Powell, 8, after she belted out, "Mom, He's Making Eyes at Me" on the band shell set up behind the building. Fifteen choral, dance and music groups from all over the county performed throughout the day.