Crofton, a 1,200-acre planned community on the western edge of Anne Arundel County, turned 20 last week, and nearly 4,000 persons celebrated Saturday with a parade and fair.

The combination birthday celebration-Oktoberfest began with a parade of fire departments and civic organizations from the area, with floats sponsored by local businesses. County Executive James Lighthizer was parade marshal.

The day's festivities included a fair with rides and about 100 booths with games, demonstrations, information, and food sales to benefit local groups.

Crofton, which has 8,000 residents, was established in 1964 by developer Hamilton Crawford, who built a golf course, country club and village green and 600 surrounding houses. In 1969 the Levitt Corp. took over much of the construction in the community, which has about 2,500 houses and apartments in the triangle of Rtes. 450, 424 and 3.

There are still gates at the entrance to Crofton, relics of the first few years when the community was privately owned and traffic was restricted. The area became public in 1969 when it was made a special taxing district of Anne Arundel County. It has its own police department and land maintenance service but no legislative power.

Crofton manager James A. Hickey said that while Crawford wanted Crofton to contain businesses as well as housing, it has become basically a bedroom community.

"A large number of the people who live here are high-grade government workers or high-ranking military officials," Hickey said. Prices for houses in Crofton tend to range from $100,000 to $150,000, he added.

Crofton will celebrate its second decade again on Oct. 27 with a series of block parties.