From the Bel Air Independence Day Committee:
The Bel Air Independence Day Committee, the non-profit, all-volunteer institution that has organized, staged and managed the traditional July 4th celebration in the Town of Bel Air since the mid 1980s, announces the full list of activities for Tuesday July 4, 2017.
The activities include a flag-raising and flag ceremonies in four locations, the traditional pancake breakfast, and family-oriented daytime competitive events, culminating with the annual parade down Main Street in the late afternoon and a fireworks display over Rockfield Park at night.
The day-long celebration, one of the largest in central Maryland, attracts attendees and participants from Harford County, as well as from surrounding counties, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
“We’re excited to once again bring a family-friendly, traditional celebration to the Bel Air community,” said Don Stewart, president of the Committee. “We encourage everyone to visit our Web Site or Facebook page and start planning their day in Bel Air on Tuesday, July 4.”
Daytime events take place at Bel Air High School (flag-raising; pancake breakfast), Rockfield Park (horseshoe pitching), Shamrock Park (family-oriented competitive events), Bel Air Elementary School (bicycle rodeo), and the Hays House (tours and historical music).
The day of celebration concludes with a mile-long parade on Main Street, starting at 6 p.m., and a fireworks display over Rockfield Park, starting at approximately 9:30 p.m.
Returning for a second year are the family-oriented competitive events in Shamrock Park. At 9 a.m. there will be WATER BALLOON TOSS competition, in which pairs of contestants attempt to toss a filled balloon back and forth, moving farther apart each time. The pair that succeeds in tossing its balloon the farthest without breaking it wins!
After the Balloon Toss, at 10:00 a.m. there will be a COSTUME CONTEST, including both “patriotic/historical” and “fantasy/creative” categories.
“These two events became instant favorites when introduced them last year,” said Stewart. “We want to see an even bigger crowd come out this year to try their luck at the water balloon toss, and show off their best costumes!”
After the Shamrock Park Costume Contest come the traditional “Uncle Sam Says” and Watermelon Eating Competitions, which have also seen ever-growing crowds over the last few years. Meanwhile, at Rockfield Park, the annual Horseshoe Pitch Contest will return for another year of top-notch competition which draws competitors from around the mid-Atlantic region.
The day of celebration concludes with a mile-long parade on Main Street, starting at 6 p.m., and a fireworks display over Rockfield Park, starting at approximately 9:30 p.m. As it has for the last two years, the parade will start at Idlewild Street and South Main, and proceed up Main Street to the Historical Society building at North Main and Gordon Street.
“This route has been a real winner over the past two years,” said Michael Blum, Committee Vice-President and Parade Chairman. “It’s improved the parade experience across the board for our participants, the viewing audience, and our parade marshals.”
This year’s parade will feature more than 130 units, including bands, performers, floats, horses, antiques, mobile and marching units, fire engines, military representatives, cars, trucks and motorcycles, costumed characters and special acrobats, and more. In all, more than 2,500 individuals will appear in the parade.
Each year, The Bel Air Independence Day Committee chooses a patriotic or locally-significant theme for the day; this year’s theme is “One From Many—Celebrating the Creation of the United States. “Our judges evaluate parade entries based on how well they illustrate the parade theme,” said Blum. “We urge all parade participants to do their best to reflect this year’s theme in their decorations, signs, and props.”
“This year’s theme is an important reminder that our country was founded by individuals who hailed from many different ways of life,” said Stewart. “They faced the challenges of their time by standing together and embracing the power of unity, and that’s an important message to remember as we celebrate America’s 241st Independence Day.”
As in previous years, the Committee has selected a MISS BEL AIR INDEPENDENCE DAY to serve as the official hostess of the Fourth of July events. This year’s Miss Bel Air is Bel Air native Natalie Brosh, who was chosen through an interview process. An outstanding musician, and Organist, Choir Director and Minister of Music at Zion United Church of Christ in Perry Hall, among many other accomplishments, Natalie will perform at each flag-raising ceremony throughout the morning’s events. In addition to helping out at the competitive events, Miss Bel Air will also lead the parade.
The reviewing stand will again be located at the County Office Building, where Don Morrison will narrate the parade, and from where various VIPs will salute the participants.
For full details on Bel Air’s Independence Day celebration on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, including maps, schedules, and more, visit http://belairjuly4.org.