From Scott T. Walker, Bel Air Downtown Alliance:
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Town of Bel Air, Michael Blum of MartinoBlum, parade volunteers, and the members of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, I would like to thank the citizens of greater Bel Air for their attendance and enthusiasm at this past Sunday’s 22nd Annual Bel Air Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting. The weather couldn’t have been any better, and the very large and enthusiastic crowds really seemed to appreciate the festivities!
Events like this parade are the single greatest part of my job as Executive Director of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance. It was an absolute pleasure to walk up and down Main Street and see the expressions of joy on the faces of all the kids, as well as, the adults too! There is almost no better representation of what it’s like to live in a “small town” than attending an event like the Annual Bel Air Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting.
Special thanks must go to the hard-working volunteers who put the entire celebration together, especially including Jennifer Mainster-Hanna, without whose hard work the parade could not have been anywhere near as good! Other volunteers included David Blum, Dina Boebel, Aaron Cahall, Alex Krowzow, Patti Pearce, David Williams, and Kristi Schwartz, Jennifer Powell and Lauren Stouten from Chesapeake Mommies. The sponsor banners were carried by members of Cub Scout Pack 777, based at Bel Air United Methodist Church. Dina Boebel and Trish Heidenreich decorated the Reviewing Stand.
Plus hard-working members the Town of Bel Air, led by Trish Heidenreich, Director of Economic Development and Jim Welch, Director of Public Relations. Thanks also to Town Administrator Chris Schlehr ;Director of Administration Joyce Oliver; Administrative Assistant Laura Stafford; and Director of Public Works Randy Robertson and his hard-working crew, led by Steve and Andy.
The celebration of course was supported by Town of Bel Air Commissioners Edward Hopkins, Robert Preston, David Carey, Dr. Robert Reier, and Susan Burdette, who marched in the parade and gave out candy canes!
The entire celebration could not have been done without the support and assistance of the Town of Bel Air Police Department, and especially Police Chief Leo Matrangola and Deputy Chief Rick Peschek.
Judge Susan Hazlett and Judge Angela Eaves, assisted by Trish Heidenreich, presided at the Reviewing Stand, where Teri Kranefeld did a wonderful job narrating the proceedings. The fabulous early entertainment was provided by the Patrick Redmond Band.
The judges determined the following awards for the procession:
FIRST PLACE/BEST IN PARADE: C. Milton Wright High School Marching Mustang Band;
SECOND PLACE: TwirlTastix;
THIRD PLACE: Patterson Mill High School Marching Band;
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Joppatowne Mariners Marching Band and Rosman Street Performers.
At Shamrock Park, after the parade, Jay Van Deusen built and maintained the nice warm bonfire; Capt. Jim McMahan was the perfect Master of Ceremonies, leading the crowd in Christmas Carols, accompanied by a wonderful performance by the Bel Air Community Band, led by Scott Sharnetzka. Free hot chocolate and cookies were provided by Coffee Coffee in the Festival at Bel Air and Wegmans Food Markets.
The celebration could not have been produced without the financial support of many local businesses. Band Sponsors were Brown, Brown & Young, Buontempo Brothers/Main Street Tower, Corbin Fuel, Harford Mutual Insurance Company, Jones Junction, and Point Breeze Credit Union. Additional Sponsors were Circa Limited, Towne Barbers, Saxon’s Diamond Centers, and Wells Fargo. Flowers by Design on Main Street kindly allowed the parade to use its rooms for “costumed character” changing.
Once again, THANK YOU one and all for your hard work, support, and generosity is this season of giving. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Scott T. Walker
Bel Air Downtown Alliance