The Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc., announces that Bel Air-based Harford Mutual Insurance Company has become the premier sponsor and fireworks sponsor for the 2009 Bel Air July 4th festivities.
According to Donald W. Stewart, President of the Committee, “We are overjoyed that Harford Mutual, a local company that has had such a long history of support for activities in and around Bel Air and of the 4th of July itself, has made such a commitment to the continuing excellence of our traditional Independence Day festivities.”
“The 4th of July in Bel Air could not exist without the help of local businesses, and we thank Harford Mutual for becoming such an integral part of this traditional local patriotic celebration,” Committee Vice-President and Parade Chairman Michael Blum adds. “I know that Don Stewart devoted himself to securing the premier sponsor, and we on the Committee are overjoyed at the result!”
For over 165 years, Bel Air-based Harford Mutual has provided tailored insurance products that businesses need to have in order to succeed. It prides itself on offering coverage and claims services that are fast, fair and responsive. Besides serving hundreds of Maryland-based companies, Harford Mutual also serves clients in seven states other states and the District of Columbia, and is committed to helping its customers achieve financial strength, stability and strategic growth.
The Bel Air Independence Day Committee, a volunteer community organization, raises all the funds necessary to hold the day-long event. Businesses, community groups, municipal agencies, clubs and churches, among others, support the July 4 celebration with individual donations. According to Stewart, it now takes about $65,000 to mount the single day’s activities. “We are hugely grateful to the citizens and businesses of Bel Air and the surrounding areas for their generosity and support over the past decades. They continue to make it possible for us to stage these patriotic events,” Stewart says. “We know times are hard, but the greater Bel Air and Harford County community comes through!”
Unlike many July 4 celebrations, Bel Air hosts a full day of mostly free activities, in non-commercial, family-oriented locations. “Of course it is a full day of fun,” Stewart says, “beginning with the flag-raising at dawn, and ending with the fireworks high in the sky. Along the way, we have every kind of small-town traditional activity, including a blueberry pancake and sausage breakfast, horse-shoe pitching, frog-jumping, watermelon eating, bicycle rodeos, historic tours, and much more. We mount one of the largest and most elaborate parades in the entire region, and one of the best fireworks displays, too!”
According to Blum, the Bel Air July 4 parade draws as many as 50,000 men, women and children to the mile-long parade route. “We probably have about 5,000 participants as well, and over 50 marshals and organizers at work on the parade,” Blum says. “The public sees everything from color guards, military units, elaborate floats, beauty queens, dog-walkers, scout troops and over 20 local and national bands!”
The 2009 Bel Air parade will feature a new beginning route down North Main Street, through the newly-renovated heart of downtown Bel Air.
Finally, thanks to Harford Mutual’s support, the day will conclude with “an unbelievable fireworks show!” says Stewart. As in 2007 and 2008, the fireworks will go off high above Rockfield Park once again, since work is still underway at the show’s traditional venue at Bel Air High School.
Although it’s getting near parade time, Blum is still looking for a few more band sponsors. “It’s not too late to sponsor one of the more than 20 bands we’re inviting to this year’s parade,” he says. “Sponsors get a banner, a lot of local press, announcements from the reviewing stand, and more,” Blum adds. A wide array of Harford County high school bands, prize-winning out-of-town groups, and traditional favorites will be on hand for the parade. The $1,200 band sponsorship allows a local business to choose which band to sponsor.
Complete sponsorship information, including lists of past sponsors, sponsorship forms, parade entry forms, photos, and information from past celebrations, can be found on the committee’s Web site, www.belairjuly4.org