From the Bel Air Independence Day Committee:
The traditional Bel Air July 4 Parade will take a slightly different route through part of the town this coming July 4, and the Bel Air Independence Day Committee is confident that the alteration is a “Win-Win-Win” situation—better for the spectators, better for the parade participants, and better for the volunteer staff running the parade.
The parade will step off as usual at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4, at the intersection of Gordon and North Main streets, in front of the Harford County Historical Society building (the old Post Office), and proceed down Main Street (opposite the regular traffic flow!) as in recent years.
However, rather than making a hard right turn at the Harford County Office Building onto Baltimore Pike, followed by a hard left turn onto Kenmore Avenue past Bel Air High School, and then another left-right swing onto South Main Street, the parade will now continue straight down South Main Street to Linwood Avenue and then to its traditional end point at Idlewild Street.
“This way, it’s ‘line of sight’ from the reviewing stand all the way to the end,” said Parade Chairman Michael Blum. “Spectators in the second half of the parade will now be able to see the entire parade approach them instead of wondering, if there’s a gap, whether the parade is over or not.”
According to Blum, the hard right-left-right-turns were very difficult to negotiate for some of the bands and larger vehicles in the parade. “When they have trouble, they stop, and that’s how gaps form,” he said. “We work to eliminate them but with over 100 parade units of all sizes, and no rehearsal, we sometimes can’t keep the flow even. This alteration should make it better for the parade participants, better for the spectators, and more fun for our volunteer Marshal staff!”
Blum added that the South Main Street new part of the route has nice sidewalks and set-backs all the way on both sides, so spectators should have no problem finding good places to view the parade.
The altered route will take the parade through the narrow single lane and concrete median at the intersection of Linwood Avenue and South Main Street; avoiding these was one reason the parade took the roundabout path in past years. However, since the reconstruction of Main Street, parade marshals have successfully handled the similarly narrow lanes in front of the Harford County Circuit Courthouse without incident.
The Bel Air Police Department, Bel Air Town Commissioners, and State Highway Administration have all reviewed and approved the revised route. Residents and businesses along the affected stretch of South Main Street will be formally notified in coming days.
The Bel Air Independence Day Committee still seeks parade entrants for one of Harford County’s favorite annual events, and welcomes marching units, floats, mobile units, comedy/novelty acts and more! The deadline for parade applications is JUNE 15, 2012. All the details are available on the committee’s web site at www.belairjuly4.org.