About 10 judges were sprinkled among the thousands who lined the parade route that stretched for more than a mile down Frederick Road and Bloomsbury Avenue in Catonsville on July 4.

The judges scored each of the floats in the parade based on a number of characteristics, including how well the float matched the parade's theme, the War of 1812.

They determined that St. Mark School's float, which depicted the scene that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the poem that would become the nation's anthem, was the best and deserved the Marie O'Dea Award for best in show.

The award is named after Marie O'Dea, who founded the Catonsville Fourth of July Parade in 1946.


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The winning float featured paper mache cannons on a hill of grass with red, white and blue stars hanging above.

Six other parade entries also earned awards at the 66th annual parade:.

Best School Entry – Catonsville Elementary School

Religious Affiliation category – Full Gospel Pentecostal Church (Ellicott City)

Community Organization category – Greater Oella Community Association

Business category – Miller Home Marketing Team (Columbia)

Special Judges Awards – Wine Bin (Ellicott City), Hot Skates Rollers (Woodlawn)

All seven winners received a wooden statue of Uncle Sam and a plaque.

The winners hold the statue for a year before returning it so it can be given to the next winner.