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Parade sounds good to start July 4 celebration

By Lauren Fulbright, lfulbright@patuxent.com

June 29, 2011

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Independence Day will not be celebrated quietly in Arbutus this year, which is just the way participants in the annual Fourth of July parade like it.

From the roar of the Maryland Air National Guard jets flying over Arbutus at 12:29 p.m. July 4 to signal the start of the parade to the fireworks show that night at nearby Catonsville High School that culminates the celebration, there will be plenty to cheer Monday.

"It's a great day in Arbutus," said Arbutus resident George Kendrick, who has run the parade with the help of family members for the past 14 years.

Sirens will sound the arrival of local police and fire departments as the annual holiday parade makes its way from the intersection of Oregon Avenue and Elm Road at 12:30 p.m. down Oregon Avenue and East Drive to the parking lot at the end of the street.

In addition to the rumbling motors of muscle cars from Arbutus Automotive, parade participants will again include local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, soap box derby racers, cheerleaders, political representatives, and a variety of floats and marching groups from area churches and community organizations.

Live music will be provided by bands from all over the East Coast, including groups from Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, Kendrick said.

Among them will be the Reading Buccaneers, a competitive drum and bugle corps that is currently the reigning six-time world champions through Drum Corps Associates.

"It's such a great day," said Thomas Moore, volunteer public relations manager for the group. "It's a great day to be an American. It's a great day to celebrate.

"We're hoofing it up a street, and we're sweating and all that," he said. "But when people cheer and yell when we go by, and we're making them happy, that makes us happy."

It will be a busy day for the group, which will leave Pennsylvania at 5 a.m. to pick up members who live in other states along the way.

"We will do five parades that day," Moore said.

The group traditionally tours Maryland on July 4 and the Arbutus parade provides an opportunity to perform, raise money and connect with local fans, Moore said.

"It's a chance to get out in front of folks who might otherwise not see us," Moore said.

The world championships, which have been held in New York since 2006, will move to Annapolis in 2012 and 2013, Moore said.

By building its following now, the drum corps hopes there will be plenty of fans to cheer them on as they take the stage at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium next year, he said.

One parade participant sure to get plenty of cheers is this year's parade marshal, Brittany Mallory, who will be throwing foam basketballs to the crowd.

The Arbutus native was a member of the University of Notre Dame women's basketball team which lost, 76-70, to Texas A&M in the 2011 NCAA Championship Game.

Mallory was co-captain of the team, which defeated Tennessee to advance to the Final Four, then upset Connecticut to reach the final.

"She's an example for the young kids of the community that you can do whatever you want, if you work enough," said Kendrick, of the McDonogh School graduate.

"She worked hard to make the team," said Kendrick on Mallory, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in high school and the ACL in her left knee as a sophomore in college.

Kendrick, a longtime sports fan, said she is "like my granddaughter."

Kendrick said Monday will again be a "community affair.

"I believe in the community," he said. "I love the community, and anything I can do to make my community better, that's the way it should be."

The festivities will again kick off with the annual Firecracker 10k race starting at 8 a.m. at Arbutus Middle School, at 5525 Shelbourne Road.

Runners of all ages can register for the race up until that morning, with the $30 admission fee benefiting the parade, Kendrick said.

In addition to the race fees, Kendrick said he has been raising the $21,000 needed to put on the parade through donations and fundraisers by the Arbutus Recreation and Parks Council.

There will be a flag-raising ceremony in downtown Arbutus at 10:15 a.m. before the flyover by the Maryland Air National Guard at 12:29 p.m., Kendrick said.