From Michael Blum, Chairman, Bel Air Christmas Celebration 2015:
To the Editors of the Dagger Press:
On behalf of the Town of Bel Air and the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, I would like to thank the citizens of greater Bel Air for their attendance and enthusiasm at the Sunday, December 6, 2015, Town of Bel Air Christmas Parade and Celebration.
It was a marvelous event, helped by spectacular weather — one of the best winter parade days we have ever had! The sun shone in a clear blue sky from dawn to sunset, and the warmth of the smiles and the spirit of the participants and the crowd added energy and “heat” as night fell.
I walked the route just behind the end of the parade and was astounded at the size of the crowds. We had expected perhaps 3,000 people but we might have come close to doubling that! I was particularly pleased to see so many children enjoying the sights and sounds. The joy on the faces of the kids and families reflect the values of our community and the love we all have for this season.
Bel Air is indeed a wonderful, family-friendly place, and it’s events like this that make that clearly apparent to all.
Special thanks must go to the many hard-working volunteers who put the entire celebration together, especially including our parade marshals Aaron Cahall, Alex Krowzow, Angela Robertson, Annette Blum and Trish Heidenreich, and a very hard-working group of wonderful students from Bel Air High School: mostly members of the National Honor Society under the supervision of Mrs. Kelly Blackburn: Rebecca Kabir, Natalie Salib, Lydia Rothbard, Chloe Foster, Lauren Gray, Meghan Thompson, Margo Sybert, Rebekah Riley and Bryce Robertson. These students showed their intelligence and leadership abilities as they did a fantastic job coping with our VERY chaotic and stressful staging area! It takes a lot of people to keep such a parade in order, and all these volunteers worked beautifully together.
The sponsor banners were carried by members of Cub Scout Pack 777, based at Bel Air United Methodist Church, organized by Tracy Lazarony, who absolutely excelled at a very complex task. Thanks again, Tracy! Dina Boebel and Trish Heidenreich decorated the Reviewing Stand.
I also need to thank the hard-working members of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, led by Executive Director Christine McPherson and Promotions Director Roman Davidyuk, who managed and prepared matters in Shamrock Park, where scads of folks enjoyed music, hot chocolate and cookies, and who were responsible for the behind-the-scenes coordination, budgeting and production of the entire event.
I also must thank the Town of Bel Air administration, led by Town Administrator Jesse Bane, for its support, and especially that of Director of Economic Development Trish Heidenreich and staff members Angela Robertson and Sandy Saunders. Thanks also to Director of Administration Michael Krantz and Director of Public Works Steve Kline and his hard-working crew, led by Mike Cornett and Freddy, who seemed to be anywhere anything was needed, with exactly the right tools and always the biggest smiles.
The celebration was supported by Town of Bel Air Commissioners Susan Burdette (Chairman), Robert M. Preston, Patrick Richards, Brendan Hopkins and Philip Einhorn. Candy canes were given out Dina Boebel and her family of Elves.
The entire celebration could not have been done without the unflinching support and assistance of the Town of Bel Air Police Department, and especially Police Chief Chuck Moore and Deputy Chief Rick Peschek.
At the parade reviewing stand, Judges Angela Eaves, Beth Bowen, Yolanda Curtin, Susan Hazlett and Mimi Cooper, assisted by Trish Heidenreich, presided, where Tracy Hart from FM 104.7 did a wonderful job narrating the proceedings. Also on the stand as our special guests were General and Mrs. William E. King IV. General King is Commanding General of the 20th CBRNE Command from APG.
The fabulous early entertainment was provided by the Route 66 Band, whose spirited and upbeat music really made Main Street into a “Winter Carnival”!
Participants in the parade included (in alphabetical order): 20th CBRNE Command Color Guard & Personnel, America in Miniature, Applause of Bel Air, Bel Air High School Field Hockey Team, Belcamp Ballers Cheer Team, Black Dogs & Company Rescue Unit, Boys and Girls Clubs of Bel Air, Brownie Scout Troop 2357, Brownie Scout Troop 5953 + Daisy Scouts Troop 1822, Buontempo Brothers/Tower Restaurant, Cub Scout Pack 807, Cub Scout Pack 830, Dance with Me School of Dance, ELSA from FROZEN, FERROUS and RIPCORD from the ABERDEEN IRONBIRDS, Forest Hill Nursery School, FROSTY THE SNOWMAN, Girl Scouts of Central MD Service Unit 674, Girl Scouts of Central MD Service Unit 678, Girl Scout Troop 4804, Girl Scout Troop 5296, Girl Scout Troop 5960. The GREENE TURTLE, The Grinch, HARFORD COUNTY FIRE PREVENTION AMBASSADORS Little Miss Fire Prevention: Ella Schueler, Junior Miss Fire Prevention: Kaitlyn Schueler, Miss Fire Prevention: Mariah Maines, Little Fire Chief: Christian Cockerham, 2015-2016 Maryland State Fireman’s Association Miss Fire Prevention 1st Runner-Up: Gabrielle Kerby, Hoppin’ Hawks, Humane Society of Harford County, JAKE’S WAY-BACK BURGERS BURGER-MAN, Kinetic Youth Academy, LINK and PRINCESS ZELDA, the Living Christmas Tree, McGruff the Crime Dog and the Bel Air Police Explorers, the Mirage Twirling Corp, Miss Bel Air 2015 Shanice Lewis, Miss Maryland 2016 Destiny Clark, Miss Maryland’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Jessica Bayuk, Poe’s-mobile, Prospect Mill Elementary School Girl Scout Unit: Daisy Troop 1639, Brownie Troop 1688, Junior Troop 5280 and Junior Troop 2457. Michael Rosman’s CircusCampStars. Ryan-Kilcoyne School of Irish Dance, Santa & Mrs. Santa in a carriage from Benchfield Farms, Silver Eagle Cloggers, the Society of Italian-American Businessmen, Supernova Dance Company, TWIRLTASTIX and Releve Dance, and the Upper Cross Roads Baptist Church.
Local High School Marching Bands were from Bel Air High School, C. Milton Wright High School, Fallston High School, John Carroll School, Patterson Mill High School, Edgewood High School and Joppatowne High School.
The judges determined the following awards for the parade: 1st Place: Girl Scouts of Central MD Service Unit 674 and its depiction of WHOVILLE; 2nd Place: Cub Scouts Pack 807’s “Sweetest Gifts”; 3rd Place: Girl Scout Troop 5296’s “Peanuts Float”; 1st Honorable Mention: C. Milton Wright High School Marching Band; 2nd Honorable Mention: Twirltastix & Releve Dance; 3rd Honorable Mention: Cub Scout Pack 830 “Racing to the North Pole.”
At Shamrock Park, after the parade, Master of Ceremonies Jim McMahan led the crowd in Christmas Carols, accompanied by a wonderful performance by the Bel Air Community Band, led by Scott Sharnetzka, and the Just Having Fun Singings, led by Kathy Kelly. Free cookies and hot chocolate courtesy of MaGerk’s, Patient First and Enclave. The bonfire was managed and stoked by Jay Van Deusen. At 4:45 pm, there was the traditional tree lighting, created by the Town of Bel Air Public Works Department.
The celebration could not have been produced without the financial support of many local businesses. The Parade was sponsored by SAFE HARBORS BUSINESS TRAVEL, recently named Bel Air Business of the Year! In addition, BAND and UNIT SPONSORS this year included BCV Realty, Corbin Fuel, The Harford Mutual Insurance Company, Howard Bank, The Goddard School, Jones Junction, Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland, Peoples Bank and The Tower Restaurant/Buontempo Brothers. Other business sponsors included Circa Ltd. and Towne Barbers. Country Britches Store on Main Street kindly allowed the parade to use its rooms for “costumed character” changing!
On a personal note, I want to thank the Town of Bel Air and the Bel Air Downtown Alliance for having the heart and sensitivity to mount such a celebration, now well into its third decade. The Holiday Season (whether one celebrates Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, or any other holiday) is one of joy, and is the time to celebrate life and family, and to give to charity and to the community. It is the season of hope and rebirth, and of the fellowship of humankind. As the days grow dark and cold, we illuminate and warm our community and our lives by the love we share and with events like this. We look forward to the return of light, warmth and growth, both physical and spiritual, and we pray for peace for us, for our community, and for all humanity.
Yours most sincerely,
Bel Air Christmas Celebration 2015