While most Americans spent the weekend marking the nation's founding, more than 1,200 people gathered at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum to celebrate the 350th birthday of Calvert County.

The event included the debut of a special exhibit at the St. Leonard facility's visitors center: a re-creation of the office of the late Louis L. Goldstein.

Goldstein was a Calvert County political legend who served as Maryland comptroller.

The party Saturday -- the official attendance was 1,278 -- came at about the halfway mark in the year-long celebration of Calvert's beginnings in Colonial Maryland. It was dubbed the Calvert County Birthday Celebration & Picnic at the Park.

"We had 14 birthday cakes," said Herman Schieke Jr., a Calvert County official who has overseen the celebration. "All the birthday cakes had scenes of Calvert County life."

In January, the Calvert County commissioners appeared in period dress to officially inaugurate the commemoration of the county's anniversary.

Events scheduled throughout the year have included monthly history lectures, a parade through Prince Frederick in April and a pageant in May. There has also been the seahorse public art project, with 25 statues decorated by students on display throughout the county.

"It's just been an incredible experience," Schieke said. "People are talking about one event or the other."

One of the exhibits on display Saturday looked at "Women of Achievement" since 1654. Grace Mary Brady, who put together the exhibit, also offered another pictorial presentation, titled "Then and Now." It compared historical photographs of locations in Calvert with their current appearance.

Brady said the exhibits drew "packed" crowds.

"It really generates a tremendous amount of interest," she said.

Organizers are not resting. The next big event is scheduled Tuesday, when Calvert officials will bury a time capsule to be opened at the county's 450th anniversary.

Schieke said items to be placed inside the time capsule include tobacco leaves and seeds, Maryland state quarters, a letter to residents from the Board of County Commissioners, copies of local newspapers, a public library card, a county flag and a video of the 350th anniversary pageant.

Also included will be one of the coins Goldstein distributed.

"They were the coins that he used to hand out all the time that said, 'God bless y'all real good,' " Schieke said.

In addition to the history lectures, events will include a War of 1812 reenactment in September. In October and November, the seahorses stationed around the county will be auctioned to raise money to support children's arts programs.

At this point, it appears the auction will involve 24 statues. Last month, someone stole one of the seahorses -- dubbed "Starfish" and decorated by Calvert Middle School students -- from in front of Adam's Ribs restaurant on Route 2/4 in Prince Frederick.

As of Tuesday, the statue still had not been found.

But organizers are not allowing the theft to cast a pall on the celebration.

"It's all been kind of a special time," Schieke said.

Marsha Plater, left, and Deborah Parren look at a painting of Parren, one of the 40 portraits of Calvert County African American women done by Delphine Williams, in the exhibit "Forty Blossoms From the Bouquet" at the Calvert County birthday picnic. Plater is also among the 40 women depicted.Louisa Goldstein, left, and Margaret Goldstein Janney, whose father was honored, with Commissioner Susan Shaw.Samatha Buckley with her father, John Buckley, after the 1st Maryland Regiment's military firing demonstration and reenactment at the party.