The results of the Bel Air Fourth of July events can be found below the following letter.
From Bel Air Independence Day Committee Inc. Vice-President Michael Blum:
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 the 2014 Bel Air July 4th parade. I believe that the weather was the most beautiful, the most remarkable and the most wonderful it has ever been for the 22 years I’ve been in charge of the parade. And perhaps for that reason, or just perhaps due to the spirit and enthusiasm of the community, the crowd was large, happy, well-behaved, enthusiastic and very supportive of the parade and the individual parade units. The entire parade and the response of the spectators to it 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. We interact with Town government and law enforcement, and with the Town Department of Public Works. The Committee also takes into account the needs of the town itself, and the sheer practicality and logistics inherent in mounting such an event.
For instance, we have to limit the length of the parade (time-wise) to give people time to get from where they viewed the parade to where they can view the fireworks, and to make it easier for the Town of Bel Air Department of Public Works and Police Department to regroup and redeploy from one part of the town to the other, in daylight. It’s not easy for a small town to accommodate the influx of tens of thousands of people, all arriving at basically the same time, looking for parking, and seating, and food, and services. Think of the stress this puts on the roads, sidewalks, parks and parking lots! That Bel Air, Maryland, pulls it off almost as a matter of course speaks volumes about the professionalism and talents of those public servants who are charged with maintaining order. So, we ended the parade while it was still light and bright, and we hope that the extra time thus given was useful to all and helped lessen the “holiday anxiety” that we all sometimes feel!
It is also surely significant that our Committee has received such support from our community for the parade, beginning with our premier sponsor, Harford Mutual Insurance Company. Other major sponsors were Jones Junction, our Program Sponsor; Band Sponsors Balsamo, Stewart, Lutters & Ruth, CPAs; Buontempo Brothers/Tower Restaurant; The Festival at Bel Air Shopping Center; HAR-CO Credit Union; Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland; Plaza Ford; PNC Bank; and TD Bank.
Sponsoring organizations overall include the Bel Air Auxiliary Police Unit, the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., the Town of Bel Air, and the Lions Club of Bel Air. The Committee also received cash 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, led by Chairman Robert Reier and Vice-Chair Susan Burdette, and Commissioners Ed Hopkins, Patrick Richards and Robert Preston, and Town Administrator James Fielder. I also wish to thank Police Chief Leo Matrangola; Deputy Chief Rick Peschek, the entire Bel Air Police Department, and Town of Bel Air Public Works personnel, led by Chuck Arnold, for their help. Mike Krantz and Laura Stafford from the Town of Bel Air Administration helped a great deal as well, especially arranging for the use of the Bel Air Reckord Armory, where Armory Manager Dave Gigliotti made some of our out-of-town bands very welcome for the nights of July 3rd and 4th! Band Directors Mary Lynn Twentey of C. Milton Wright High School, Richard Hauf of Havre de Grace High School, John Wojciechowski of Edgewood High School, Robert L. Johnston of Joppatowne High School, and Marc Bolden of the 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!
To the many businesses, churches, clubs, individuals and organizations who participated in the parade — you truly exemplify what it means to be public-spirited, patriotic and community-minded. 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 of and all around them during the afternoon and evening! Particular thanks goes to Klein’s ShopRite, which gave us total use of their parking lots at their North Main Street location and those of the ShopRite Gas-N-Go filling station from 4 pm until the parade was over. We also owe a great debt of gratitude to Harford Mutual Insurance Company, our Premier Sponsor, which allowed us to use its parking lots and lawn to marshal marching units and notable people, to the Bel Air Presbyterian Church, which let our beauty pageant representatives relax in air-conditioned comfort, and which provided food and drink to our parade marshals, and to Homestead Publishing, which allowed us to use its parking lots on West Pennsylvania Avenue for our equestrian staging. We also received tremendous support from Aberdeen Proving Grounds, whose commander, General Bruce T. Crawford, along with Command Sergeant Majors Dent and Adams, and an honor guard from the Kirk US Army Health Clinic, marched in the parade!
Without all this support, we could not have held the parade.
In its lead editorial on July 4, the Aegis commented on how volunteerism plays such a critical part in delivering such an event. The Aegis said “Such commitment to volunteer work for the benefit of the community as a whole is vital to the fabric of American society.” The Aegis is right — it takes hours and hours of commitment and hard work from many, many volunteers to make a parade happen, and I need to send many, many thanks to our many, many volunteers. First, to our marvelous parade marshals: Mike Fields, Aaron Cahall, Donna DeBord, Charlie DeBord, Brian DeBord, Dave Andrews, Alex Krowzow, Perry Thompson, John Cubbage, Vincent Nohe, Katie Nohe, Steven Quinn, Margaret Beain, Greg Cooper, Ron Eastridge, Tom Franza, Emma Franza, Tommy Franza, Ander Beain, Bill Smith, Annette Blum, Chris Wilcox, Nathan Wilcox, Amelia Wilcox, John McCutcheon, Steve Pugh, J.P. Garvin, Chris Garvin, Anne Siebold, Matt Siebold, Elizabeth Siebold, Sean Thompson, Jack Deal, David Williams, Hayden Anthony, Amelia Wilcox, Maddy McCutchen, Kelly McCutchen and Dee Strickland.
Next, those who worked at other parts of the parade: David and Mary Anne Williams and Kim and Andy Politz did a wonderful job decorating the reviewing stand, notwithstanding the breezes that blew everything they put on it, off of it, at first. But they prevailed — great job, guys! Communications were ably handled by Don Stewart. Don Morrison did his usual wonderful job narrating the parade, assisted by Perry Thompson, Reviewing Stand Marshal, and Alex Krowzow, who had the difficult job of texting the Reviewing Stand with the inevitable changes that occurred to the pre-planned parade order! Thanks also to Boy Scout Troops 777 and 313, many of whose members were our marshals, and to the Fountain Green Swim Club, our parade sponsor banner carriers. 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).
My vote for the “unsung hero” award this year goes to Alex Krowzow III, who came up with a new way to handle the Reviewing Stand narration, and who made it work, despite many, many unanticipated but necessary changes in parade order, especially in the later stages of the parade.
And finally, I’d like to again personally thank the man who might just be the Chief Volunteer of Bel Air — Don Stewart, President of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc. Don’s thoughtful and caring support, his creativity in coming up with new ideas and interesting additions to a function that he’s been working on for over 30 years, and his hard work, sensitivity, organization, dedication and flexibility are without peer. As I said earlier in this letter, the Committee has a vision of what the parade should be. I’ve been privileged to have been the Parade Chairman now for over 22 years — but I know that without the visionary ideals of our President, Don Stewart, nothing of value would happen in Bel Air on July 4! Thanks again, Don, for everything.
RESULTS OF 2014 JULY 4 COMPETITIONS, PARADE IN BEL AIR, MARYLAND
Bel Air, Maryland: The July 4th, 2014, Independence Day events in Bel Air, Maryland, offered fun, patriotic splendor, and educational interest to citizens of the entire region, all during a day that began cool and drizzly, but soon gave way to beautiful summer weather, cool and sunny with light breezes and with a remarkable clarity of sky.
Tens of thousands of citizens from the greater Bel Air area and across Harford County, Maryland, participated and enjoyed the traditional small-town events on Friday, July 4th, 2014, culminating with the annual parade and one of the classiest fireworks displays held since the fireworks moved to their present shoot-off location. The theme for the day was “200 Star-Spangled Years,” commemorating the upcoming 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and Defense of Fort McHenry, which led to the composition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our national Anthem.
Events got underway at 6:45 am at the new Bel Air High School with the flag raising ceremony, featuring Disabled American Veterans Chapter 30 and American Legion Bel Air Post 39, assisted by bugler Robert Hudson. The National Anthem was sung by Pamela Rinehart. Ms. Rinehart also sang the National Anthem at 3 other venues during the day: at Rockfield Park to start the Horseshoe Pitching contest; at Shamrock Park to start the family and children’s events; and at Bel Air Elementary School to start the Bicycle Rodeo. This was the first time the National Anthem has been sung at the various event venues.
The traditional pancake and sausage breakfast was held at Bel Air High School, in which just under 2000 adults and children partook of the pancakes, blueberry pancakes, juice and sausages cooked and prepared by over 50 volunteers from the Bel Air Lions, under the direction of Harold Boccia and Wayne Dudeck.
During the morning, the Hays House was open to visitors, and offered lawn games and guided tours of the historic facility to 130 guests this year. All guests enjoyed the historical music played by Catherine Street Consort, and many families enjoyed the lawn games. The Catherine Street Consort also played the original “Anacreontic Song,” the melody of which was chosen by Francis Scott Key as the tune of his original poem, “The Defense of Fort M’Henry,” better known as “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
In the week leading up to July 4th, the Bel Air Independence Day Committee distributed 20,000 free programs listing all events and containing useful information about the 4th of July in Bel Air. The program’s front cover illustration was chosen by a contest open to all Harford County students. The winning design was submitted by Maya Feick of Bel Air, a student at Homestead-Wakefield Elementary School. The official program was designed and produced by Michael Blum. The 2014 Program was sponsored by Jones Junction.
A full roster of daytime competitive events were held at various locations in the Town of Bel Air. The results of these were as follows:
Horseshoe Pitching (Rockfield Park): 78 participants
1st Place: Velma Schleicher of Bel Air
2nd Place: Diane Bish of Belcamp
1st Place: Vicki Smith and Breanna Smith of Darlington
2nd Place: Lynn Crain of Forest Hill and Krystal Rush of Edgewood
1st Place: Jeff Cooper of Delta, PA
2nd Place Dano Molino of Perry Hall, MD
1st Place: Cisco J. Reyer, Sr., and Johnny Sequoyall of Baltimore
2nd Place: Larry Vaughan of Aberdeen and Merle Turner of Joppa, Maryland
Turtle Derby (Shamrock Park):
Box Turtles — 70 total participants
1st Place: Squirt, entered by Jessica Douglas
2nd Place: Bob, entered by Jenna Van Pelt
3rd Place: Lightning, entered by Ella and Branden Beauchamp.
Other Turtles — 35 total participants
1st Place: Speed Lightning, entered by Eve Krout
2nd Place: Speedy, entered by Ella and Mason Parks
3rd Place: Speedy, entered by Maci Krout
Frog Jumping (Shamrock Park) — 144 total participants
1st Place: Honey-Boo-Boo-Child, entered by Maggie Schepleng of Bel Air, with a 3-jump total of 102 inches
2nd Place: Hoppy, entered by Alli McDonald of Bel Air, with a 3-jump total of 100 inches
3rd Place: Jeremiah, entered by Ashlee, Alex and Meghan Stevenson and Greg Champ of Edgewood, with a 3-jump total of 99 inches
Bicycle Rodeo (Bel Air Elementary School)
Best Decorated — Girls: Megan Schindhelm
Best Decorated — Boys: Justin Spencer
Ages 5 and under:
1st Place: Harry Plastid and Christie Clenon (tie)
2nd Place: Berkely Bacso
3rd Place: Carson Clinton
1st Place: Matthew Crowe
2nd Place: Trenton Wrozen
3rd Place: Olivia Krause
1st Place: Hannah Fender
2nd Place: Jimmy Calland
3rd Place: Taylor Schindhelm
1st Place: Mailya Wrozeh
2nd Place: Jason Haney
3rd Place: Adam Bennett
Uncle Sam Says (Shamrock Park):
1st Place: Elon Nolan from Bel Air
2nd Place: Samantha Katen from Forest Hill
3rd Place: Alice Glikin from Towson, Maryland
1st Place: Robert Kahoe from Bel Air
2nd Place: Connor Plume from Edgewood
3rd Place: Ashton Tolson from Bel Air
1st Place: Elizabeth Sanders from Abingdon
2nd Place: Abbey Battaglia from Bel Air
3rd Place: Angela Kahoe from Bel Air
1st Place: Jessica Douglass from Whiteford
2nd Place: Grace Chubb from Bel Air
3rd Place: Robert Comeaux from Bel Air
Watermelon Eating Contest (Shamrock Park):
Ages 6 and under:
1st Place: Grayson Stump from Bel Air
2nd Place: Gavin Fender from Bel Air
3rd Place: Haylie Brown from Bel Air
1st Place: Robbie Kleist from Bel Air
2nd Place: Conor Mace from Bel Air
3rd Place: Morgan Hennigan from Bel Air
1st Place: Carolyn Klein from Bel Air
2nd Place: Luke Dipple from Forest Hill
3rd Place: Bryce Meadows from Bel Air
1st Place: John Katen from Forest Hill
2nd Place: Mike Hall from Bel Air
3rd Place: Bobby Weaver from Bel Air
After a recess for the afternoon, the traditional parade began at 6:00 pm at the intersection of North Main Street and Gordon Street on the north side of Bel Air. The parade was greeted with approval by an estimated crowd of 45,000 spectators, who lined the parade route all the way to South Main Street and Idlewild.
Volunteer parade marshals were: Mike Fields, Aaron Cahall, Donna DeBord, Charlie DeBord, Brian DeBord, Dave Andrews, Alex Krowzow, Perry Thompson, John Cubbage, Vincent Nohe, Katie Nohe, Steven Quinn, Margaret Beain, Greg Cooper, Ron Eastridge, Tom Franza, Emma Franza, Tommy Franza, Ander Beain, Bill Smith, Annette Blum, Chris Wilcox, Nathan Wilcox, Amelia Wilcox, John McCutcheon, Steve Pugh, J.P. Garvin, Chris Garvin, Anne Siebold, Matt Siebold, Elizabeth Siebold, Sean Thompson, Jack Deal, David Williams, Hayden Anthony, Amelia Wilcox, Maddy McCutchen, Kelly McCutchen and Dee Strickland.
Also contributing were David and Mary Anne Williams and Kim and Andy Politz, who did a wonderful job decorating the reviewing stand, notwithstanding the breezes that blew everything they put on it, off of it, at first.
Communications were ably handled by Don Stewart.
Don Morrison did his usual wonderful job narrating the parade, assisted by Perry Thompson, Reviewing Stand Marshal, and Alex Krowzow, who had the difficult job of texting the Reviewing Stand with the inevitable changes that occurred to the pre-planned parade order!
Thanks also to Boy Scout Troops 777 and 313, many of whose members were our marshals, and to the Fountain Green Swim Club, our parade sponsor banner carriers. Our 6 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 (see below).
The “unsung hero” award this year goes to Alex Krowzow III, who came up with a new way to handle the Reviewing Stand narration, and who made it work, despite many, many unanticipated but necessary changes in parade order, especially in the later stages of the parade.
Many of the parade units were sponsored by area businesses. Banners in the parade celebrating these sponsors were carried by members of the Fountain Green Swim Club, under the direction of David Williams. Parade sponsors included:
• Balsamo, Stewart, Lutters & Ruth, CPAs
• Buontempo Brothers/Tower Restaurant
• Festival at Bel Air Shopping Center
• First National Bank
• HAR-CO Credit Union
• Jones Junction Auto Dealerships
• Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland
• Plaza Ford
• PNC Bank
• TD Bank
The Parade Judges awarded the following prizes:
1st Place: Central Christian
2nd Place: Battle of North Point
3rd Place: IntheGlow
4th Place: Bel Air Lions Club
1st Place: Uncle Milty’s Halflingers
2nd Place: Verna White / America in Miniature
3rd Place: Benchfield Farms
4th Place: Timmy Hurley/Lexie Palmer
THE HARFORD COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL 2014 BEL AIR JULY 4TH PARADE TROPHY, awarded to the Harford County high school marching band that, in the eyes and ears of our judges, performs the best, goes to C. Milton Wright High School Marching Mustangs Band.
GUEST BANDS and DRUM CORPS:
1st Place: Fusion Core
2nd Place: Reading Buccaneers
3rd Place: Skyliners
1st Place: Home Paramount 1939 Ford
2nd Place: Corbin Fuel
3rd Place: Maryland State Troopers Alumni Association
1st Place: The APG Contingent: Brigadier General Bruce T. Crawford, CG APG & Dianne Crawford; Sgt. Major Kennis J. Dent, CSM APG & Gloria Dent; Colonel Gregory R. McClinton, Garrison Commander, APG & Vicky McClinton + Garrison Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey O. Adam; Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic Honor Guard
2nd Place: Harford County Marine Corps League
3rd Place: Harford County Sheriff’s Department
1st Place: Center for the Arts
2nd Place: Harford Christian
3rd Place: Stonewall Day Care Center
4th Place: Gina Kazimir
5th Place: Alpha Omega 4×4 Off-road Club and Christian Ministry
1st Place: Bel Air Terps Youth Football
2nd Place: Jarrettsville Young Marines
3rd Place: Applause of Bel Air
Emergency Services Units:
1st Place: Joppa/Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company
2nd Place: Level Volunteer Fire Company
1st Place: Raven “Fan Man,” the “Bus Boys” and the RavHons
2nd Place: Michael Rosman’s Harford Globe Trotters
3rd Place: Buontempo Brothers Pizza Slice Man and Friends
Most Patriotic: Miss Bel Air 2014 Cynthia Ford
Best Presentation: 2014 Little Fire Chief Ayden Eyre
Most Popular with the Crowd: 2014 Miss Fire Prevention Kaelyn Suit
Most Admired Entry: 2014 Program Cover Contest Winner Maya Feick
Judges’ Awards for Entries of Special Merit:
Edgewood High School Marching Band
Nancy Jacobs Family Float
Sun Devils Drum & Bugle Corps
Miss Black-Eyed Susan Katerina Rice
Hall’s Septic Services Suck-Up Squad
Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
The parade ended at about 8:00 pm, and after a recess of about 90 minutes, the 2014 fireworks were shot off from Rockfield Park. Spectators lined the streets and filled permitted areas at Rockfield Manor, John Carroll School, the Bel Air Parking Garage, and many other venues. The fireworks show began at 9:30 on the dot and lasted 21 minutes, ending with a “Finale” that featured several new “screamer” effects and high arching pyrotechnics.
The display was greeted with cheers and applause by the large crowds.
For more information, please visit http://www.belairjuly4.org.