From Michael Blum, parade director and vice-president, Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc.:
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc., I wish to thank the greater Bel Air and Harford County community for its response to this year’s parade. The weather was a bit hot, it’s true, but it cooled off by parade-time, and the breeze was wonderful and there was NO RAIN! I thought that the crowds were very large, enthusiastic and well-behaved. The entire parade showed greater Bel Air to be the patriotic, fun and accessible family-oriented community it truly is.
Many people do not realize that the Bel Air July 4th Parade, as part of the overall Independence Day celebrations in Bel Air, is funded and run by an independent not-for-profit organization, the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc., which has a vision of what the parade should be, and tries, to the best of its ability, to bring this vision to reality. Of course, the Committee relies on the contributions of individuals, businesses and municipalities — contributions of time, effort, and funds.
In these challenging economic times, it is surely significant that our Committee has received such support from our community, beginning with our premier sponsor, Harford Mutual Insurance Company. Other major sponsors were M&T Bank, our Flags Sponsor; and Point Breeze Credit Union, our Program Sponsor. Our Band Sponsors were Balsamo, Stewart, Lutters & Ruth, CPAs; Buontempo Brothers/Tower Restaurant; The Festival at Bel Air Shopping Center; HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union; Jones Junction; Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland; Oak Contracting, Inc.; Plaza Ford; PNC Bank; SAIC; and Triad Mechanical Services. Sponsoring organizations overall include the Bel Air Auxiliary Police Unit, the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., the Town of Bel Air, Harford County Parks & Recreation, and the Lions Club of Bel Air. The Committee also received contributions from dozens of individuals and businesses, as listed in our program and on our web site (http://www.belairjuly4.org).
I wish especially to thank the Town of Bel Air Commissioners and Town Administrator Christopher Schlehr; Police Chief Leo Matrangola; Sergeant Rick Peschek, the entire Bel Air Police Department, and Town of Bel Air Public Works personnel, led by Chuck Tracy and Mike Cornett, for their help. Joyce Oliver and Laura Stafford from the Town of Bel Air Administration helped a great deal as well, especially arranging for the Bel Air Independence Day Committee to use of the Bel Air Reckord Armory to house one of our largest out-of-town bands for two nights! Band Directors Mary Lynn Twentey of C. Milton Wright High School, Richard Hauf of Havre de Grace High School, Tony Domenico of Bel Air High School, Brendon Bickham of Edgewood High School, Ronald Burke of Patterson Mill High School and Marc Bolden of John Carroll School also deserve high marks for turning their bands out in such great numbers and with such great spirit, in the midst of summer vacation and over a holiday weekend!
To the many businesses, churches, clubs, individuals, organizations and groups who participated in the parade — you truly exemplify what it means to be public-spirited, patriotic and community-minded. Your floats were wonderful; the decorated floats, cars and marching units were many and colorful; your patience and spirit of fun kept shining right until the end of the parade.
I want to also thank our elected public officials for their cooperation and spirited participation.
We all send our grateful appreciation to the residents and businesses on Bond Street, Rockspring Road, Ellendale Street and Gordon Street, who kindly allowed us to marshal the parade in front and all around them on during the afternoon and evening! Particular thanks goes to Klein’s ShopRite, which gave us total use of their parking lots at their Main Street location and those of the ShopRite Gas-N-Go filling station from 4 pm until the parade was over. We also thank McComas Funeral Home for allowing us to use its parking lot on Broadway to marshal the Elected Public Officials. We also owe a great debt of gratitude to Harford Mutual Insurance Company, our Premier Sponsor, which allowed us to use its parking lots to marshal Marching Units, Notable People, Beauty Queens and Equestrian Units.
Without all this support, we could not have held the parade.
It takes hours and hours of commitment and hard work from many volunteers to make a parade happen, and I need to send many, many thanks to our marvelous parade marshals: Matt Heidenreich, Aaron Cahall, Cody Wagner, Nathan Wilcox, John Cubbage, Vincent Nohe, Katy Nohe, Mark Davis, Joel Davis, Alex Krowzow, Jon Rogers, Laura Rogers, Julio Martinez, Jovan Martinez, Ken Deane, Jacob Deane, Peggy Hallisey, Mark West, Steve Pugh, Rick Cozby, Jo Cozby, Wayne Kern, Ryan Kern, Evan Kern, Zachary Wheeler, Bill Smith, Penny Wagner, Cody Wagner, Garrett Wagner, Dave Andrews, Rachel Eibling, Patrick Sexton, Chris Wilcox, Amelia Wilcox, Nathan Wilcox, Don Berk, Matt Siebold, Anne Siebold, Elizabeth Siebold, Roger Staso, Greg Cooper, Jim Perry, Stephen Perry, Ron Eastridge, Paul Eastridge, Nicole Hathazi, Jack Deal, David Williams, Sean Paulsen, Brad Paulsen, Alicia Kilgore, Mary Dean, Don Stewart, Lisa Williams, Jacob Wheeler, Ed Paulsen and Jason Burkhouse. Many of you were new this year; many of you are teenagers; all of you are marvelous!
Mary Anne Williams did a wonderful job decorating the reviewing stand, helped out immeasurably by Assistant Chief Rick Davis and volunteers from the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company. Great job, guys! Communications were ably handled by Don Stewart. Thanks also to Boy Scout Troops 777 and 313, many of whose members were our marshals, and to Troop 564, the Bel Air High School Bobcats Football Team and the Fountain Green Swim Club, our flag-givers and banner carriers. M&T Bank again came through as our Parade Flag Sponsor, and brought a beautiful huge American flag to be displayed as the flags were given out!
Don Morrison did a wonderful job narrating the parade, assisted by our second-time-ever electronic parade narration communication team, which used text messaging to make sure the order of over 150 different parade units was relayed from the start point to the reviewing stand, exactly as the units deployed. The texting team included Kim Politz, Kendra Pickard, Julia Blum, Andy Chang and Perry Thompson.
Thanks also goes to the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., and especially to Assistant Chief Rick Davis, and to Charlie Walls, our parade Fire Companies Marshal. Our Parade Judges (who choose to remain anonymous) did fine work evaluating and ranking the various units in categories for performance and appearance awards and prizes. The complete list of parade prizes and awards is posted on our web site and is also sent to the Aegis for publication.
My vote for the “unsung hero” award this year goes to parade marshal Dave Andrews, who worked hard at the point where the many different types of units are inserted and “become the parade.” Dave helped cope with everything expected and unexpected, including an overheating car, feeding units in from 7 separate areas, and even chasing after a marching band for 4 blocks to recover its “text message code” so that it could be announced properly from the reviewing stand!
And finally, I’d like to personally thank Don Stewart, President of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc., for his hard work, support, sensitivity, organization, dedication, flexibility and thoughtfulness.
From the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc.:
BEL AIR, JULY 4, 2011 — COMPLETE AND OFFICIAL RESULTS OF ALL EVENT COMPETITIONS AND PARADE AWARDS.
Note: the winners’ names for the daytime events were recorded by volunteers in handwriting at the scene. Every attempt has been made to be accurate but apologies are made in advance in the case of any error!
Hamster Races — 34 total participants
1st: Sparkles, owned by Valerie & Ellie Myers of Bel Air
2nd: Scooby, owned by Danielle Lynn of Darlington
3rd: Caramel, owned by Madison Santiago of Abingdon
Box Turtles — 92 total participants
1st: Slowee, entered by Angelina Barrese of Fallston
2nd: Speedie, entered by Dillan Unger of Darlington
3rd: (tie) Bugs Turtle, entered by Erin Drumm of Bel Air and Spike, entered by Rachael Ewers of Forest Hill
Other Turtles — 55 total participants
1st: Terp, entered by Frankie Gebhard of Bel Air
2nd: Claude, entered by Jared & Alice Haas of Bel Air
3rd: (tie) Mr. Smith, entered by Erin Drumm, of Forest Hill, MD, and Rangler, entered by Emily Jackson, of Cambridge, MD
Frog Jumping — 151 total participants; 3-jump total
1st: Hammer, entered by Jenny Lynch of Bel Air — 171 inches — AN ALL-TIME RECORD!
2nd: Jumper the Frog, entered by Sam Lynch of Bel Air — 149 inches
3rd: Bob, entered by Seth Bishop of Whiteford — 140 inches
1st: Charlotte Onion of Stewartstown, PA;
2nd, Velma Sheicher of Bel Air
1st: Charlotte Onion of Stewartstown, PA, and Vickie Smith of Darlington
2nd: Bree Smith and Velma Sheicher of Bel Air.
1st: Cisco Reyes of Brooklyn Park, MD;
2nd: Tim Hilton of Street, MD.
1st: James Stewart and Zach Waters, Jr., of Baltimore, MD;
2nd, Lionel Bowser of Street, MD and Ed Hall of Forest Hill, MD.
Best Decorated — Girls: Kaitlyn Calland
Best Decorated — Boys: Jimmy Calland
Ages 5 and under
1st: Anna Bennett
2nd: Peter Knefel
3rd: Matthew Crowe
1st: Jimmy Calland
2nd: Joseph Johnson
3rd: Preston Merz
1st: Aiden Bennett
2nd: Abby Battaglia
3rd: Brett Buckman
Ages 11-13 winner
1st: Jake Burrows
2nd: Devon Surita
3rd: Chase Donelson
Uncle Sam Says
1st: Macy Vail from Joppa
2nd: Madison Santiago from Bel Air
3rd: Daniel Gaughan from Bel Air
1st: Morgan Reinhardt from Pylesville
2nd: Jessica Douglass from Whiteford
3rd: Jake Wheeler from Bel Air
1st: Finn Gottschalk from Abingdon
2nd: Gabrielle Roeder from Whiteford
3rd: Erin Drumm from Forest Hill
1st: Jake Kahoe from Forest Hill
2nd: Maria Edwards from Forest Hill
3rd: Talia Kahoe from Forest Hill
Watermelon Eating Contest
Ages 6 and under
1st: Paige Martin
2nd: Julia Babb from Charleston, SC
3rd: Ben Iannantuono
1st: Jake Ehrbaker from Bel Air
2nd: Jamie Salvatiere from Bel Air
3rd: Destiny Clark from Baltimore
1st: Tristan Salmon from Bel Air
2nd: Emma Friel from Charleston, SC
3rd: Owen Sparr from Bel Air
1st: Dan Petz from Havre de Grace
2nd: Aynsley Grove from Bel Air
3rd: Rebecca Barkowski from Abingdon
2011 Independence Day Parade RESULTS
Theme: “3 Cheers for the Red, White & Blue”
1st Prize: $400: ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST SCHOOL
2nd Prize: $300: GREAT HOPE BIBLE CHURCH
3rd Prize: $200: MARYLAND SCHOOL FOR BALLET
4th Prize: $100: JONES FAMILY FARM
5th Prize: $75: CELEBRATING AMERICA’S VETERANS
6th Prize: $50: THE ARENA CLUB
7th Prize: plaque: SILVER EAGLE CLOGGERS
8th Prize: plaque: PECORA’S PET CARE
2. EQUESTRIAN UNITS
1st Prize: $100: AMERICA IN MINIATURE
2nd Prize: $90: SHINING EYE PERCHERONS
3rd Prize: $80: LEXIE PALMER
3. ANTIQUE VEHICLES (plaques)
1st Prize: SMITH FAMILY ANTIQUE VEHICLES & TRACTORS
2nd Prize: HARFORD REGION, ANTIQUE AUTO ASSOC. OF AMERICA
3rd Prize: THOMAS MCKNIGHT 1948 FARMALL
4. COLOR GUARDS (plaques)
1st Prize: AMERICAN LEGION POST #29
2nd Prize: HARFORD COUNTY DETACHMENT, MARINE CORPS LEAGUE
3rd Prize: HARFORD COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE HONOR GUARD
5. MOBILE UNITS (plaques)
1st Prize: PLAZA FORD
2nd Prize: BLUE DOT SERVICES OF MARYLAND
3rd Prize: HARFORD COUNTY LIBRARY FOUNDATION
4th Prize: THOMPSON MOVING AND STORAGE
6. MARCHING UNITS (plaques)
1st Prize: HOPPIN’ HAWKS JUMP ROPE CLUB
2nd Prize: RAGE BOX CONTEMPORARY DANCE
3rd Prize: CUB SCOUT PACK 807
4th Prize: CUB SCOUT PACK 999
7. EMERGENCY VEHICLES (plaques)
1st Prize: LEVEL VFC
2nd Prize: JOPPA-MAGNOLIA VFC
3rd Prize: JARRETTSVILLE VFC
8. COMIC/NOVELTY ACTS (plaques)
1st Prize: STILTS WALKERS AND JOKESTERS
2nd Prize: TAZ CRUISER
3rd Prize: BOUMI SHRINE MOTOR CORPS
9. THE HARFORD COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL BEL AIR JULY 4 PARADE TROPHY is awarded to:
C. MILTON WRIGHT HIGH SCHOOL MARCHING MUSTANG BAND
10. BANDS, DRUM & BUGLE CORPS, MAJORETTE CORPS (plaques)
1st Prize: JOHN F. NICOLL PIPES & DRUMS
2nd Prize: SUMMER PHOENIX DRUMLINE
3rd Prize: BEL AIR COMMUNITY BAND
11. Notable People (plaques)
Most Patriotic: MARYLAND’S DISTINGUISHED YOUNG WOMAN 2011 REBECCA MITCHELL
Best Presentation: MSFA JUNIOR MISS FIRE PREVENTION 2011 SABRINA WAINRIGHT
Most Popular with the Crowd: HCPS TEACHER OF THE YEAR CHRISTIAN SLATTERY & NURSE OF THE YEAR SARA CUSHEN
Seemed Happiest to Be in the Parade: HARFORD COUNTY LITTLE FIRE CHIEF 2011 TAYLOR BATTON
Best Smile: MISS MARYLAND 2011 CARLIE COLELLA
12. ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE ENTRY (plaque): MARYLAND STATE POLICE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
13. JUDGES AWARDS FOR SPECIAL MERIT:
PATTERSON MILL HIGH SCHOOL MARCHING BAND
EDGEWOOD HIGH SCHOOL MARCHING BND
HAVRE DE GRACE HIGH SCHOOL MARCHING BAND
HALL’S HONEY POTS
BEL AIR VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY
JOPPATOWNE HIGH SCHOOL MARCHING BAND
READING BUCCANEERS DRUM & BUGLE CORPS
THE PHILIPPINE HERITAGE BAND
MISS BEL AIR INDEPENDENCE DAY 2011 KATIE MEADOWCROFT