Harford County won't be short of Independence Day celebrations this year, so be sure to get your fill of parades, fireworks and Fourth of July fun.
It all begins Saturday with the Darlington Independence Day Parade and Fireworks Celebration.
The parade will kick off at 5:30 p.m. from the weigh station on Route 1 and head down Castleton Road. From there, the parade route will wind down Main Street onto Shuresville Road and end at Francis Silver Park.
"There are lots of neat new things going on this year," Kira Dare, president of the Darlington Independence Day Celebration Committee, said.
For the first time, the Boumi Temple Motorcycle Group will ride in the parade, which will be led for the first time by first year Boy Scout Troop 301 from the Darlington-Dublin area.
The "always fabulous" Havre de Grace Warriors Marching Band will also perform again this year, Dare said.
Once at the park, trophies will be award to the parade winners, which will be followed by the Darlington American Idol competition.
Donna Burk, last year's winner, will open the celebration by singing the national anthem.
Additionally, Dare said, "Thanks to a generous donation from the Hopkins family of Elberton Hill Farm of Darlington, we are proud to present an extended fireworks display this year."
Fireworks will begin at dusk.
The Joppa community will hold an extra special celebration this year, as it's the 300th anniversary of the founding of Joppa as a seaport, noted Dianna Guthrie, chair of the Edgewood/Joppa Town Independence Day Committee.
As the communities take turns every year hosting the event, this year the parade will take place 6 p.m. July 1 in Joppa.
The route will begin at Joppa Farm Road at Shore Drive, make its way down Joppa Farm Road and end at Joppatowne High School.
Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane will be the grand marshal.
At 8 p.m., the Chesapeake Silver Cornet Brass Band will perform at Mariner Point Park, 100 Kearney Drive.
As always, the annual event promises fantastic floats and entertainment for the whole family.
Havre de Grace
The city's Independence Day festivities also begin before July 4, with a carnival June 26 through July 1.
"It's a wonderful week in Havre de Grace with the carnival running and concert in the park," city tourism manager Brigitte Peters said. "There's something there for everyone."
The carnival at Tydings Park will run 6 to 10:30 p.m. June 26 through 29, then 4 to 10:30 p.m. June 30 and July 1. Tickets are $25 for unlimited rides and are available at local merchants, the tourism center, activity center and Frank's Pizza. Individual ride tickets are also available each night.
The parade will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 1 and run along Union Avenue from Warren Street to Tydings Park.
Several bands will participate in the parade, including the Havre de Grace High School band, the Ravens' Marching Band and Harford Highlanders Pipe Band.
At 7 p.m. that day, there will be a concert at the park. Entertainment will continue after the fireworks display, which will begin at dark, around 9:15 p.m.
Peters described the fireworks as "can't miss" and said they can be seen from anywhere in the park.
On July 4, it's Bel Air's turn to hold Independence Day festivities, which continue throughout the day.
The day begins with family friendly events around the town, including a flag-raising ceremony at 6:45 a.m. in front of Bel Air High School, a blueberry pancake and sausage breakfast, also at the high school, from 7 to 11:30 a.m., horseshoe pitching at Rockfield Park at 8:30 a.m. and the annual frog-jumping and watermelon eating contests in Shamrock Park.
The parade will begin at 6 p.m., and down a slightly different route than in previous years.
It will start at the intersection of East Gordon Street and North Main Street, at the "Welcome to Bel Air" sign, then head south down Main Street all the way to Idlewild Street.
Then at 9:30 p.m., fireworks will be launched from Rockfield Park. The display can be viewed from many areas around the town.
If canceled because of inclement weather, fireworks will be launched July 5 at approximately the same time.
For a full list of events, visit belairjuly4.org.
Just over the Harford County line, Kingsville will hold its 32nd Fourth of July parade on the 4th.
"We've been told it's the best [parade] around," parade chair Linda Alexander said.
The parade will start at 10:50 a.m. at the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company on Bellvue Avenue, then proceed down Bradshaw Road to Jerusalem Road and finish at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. There is no rain date.
Alexander said the event has "real community participation," including several Harford County high school bands.
Be sure to check out the pre-parade celebration, starting at 9:30 a.m. with music, then entertainment from Buttons the Clown, Baltimore City Pipe Band and Upper Falls Dance Academy.