Despite rumors that the parade may be canceled due to thunderstorms rolling through the area, civic groups, entertainers and politicians marched down Frederick Road to the beat of drums and music at the 68th annual Catonsville Fourth of July Parade.
The patriotic event, which has been held since 1947, was enjoyed by thousands who lined the sidewalks of Frederick Road to watch the mile-long parade that begins at Montrose Avenue and Frederick Road at 3 p.m. and ends in front of the Bloomsbury Community Center at 106 Bloomsbury Ave.
The celebration was the culmination of months of planning by the Catonsville Fourth of July Celebrations Committee, a group of approximately 60 volunteers who spent months raising funds and coordinating the effort.
"It's like having a 20-month pregnancy and finally giving birth," said committee chairman George Deal, as he walked along the parade route. "It's all finally coming together."
Rose Edwards, a member of the committee and a former chairwoman, described the day of the event as "hectic" and "crazy."
She has been involved with the massive community effort for more than 20 years, she said.
"I love it," Edwards said, "There's just such satisfaction in it."
The parade followed a number of events held throughout the day. Friday began with kids games at 9:30 a.m. on the fields at the corner of Rolling Road and Valley Road on the campus of Catonsville High School. Youngsters between the ages of 2 and 13 participated in a bike decorating contest and played games like shoe scramble, leapfrog, ball on spoon race and water balloon toss for no charge. At 11 a.m. a free concert was held at Christian Temple Christian Church on Edmondson Avenue.
Friday afternoon's parade goers agreed the patriotic event brings the tight-knit Baltimore suburb together.
"It's a way to catch up with old friends," said Bob Krabbe, 52, a Catonsville native, as Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz waved to the crowd from a classic car driven by former 1st District County Councilman Sam Moxley.
Krabbe was chatting with high school classmate and friend Michael McGinty, 52, of Ellicott City, minutes after the Arbutus and Violetville Fire Departments drove by blasting their sirens and waving to the crowd.
Both graduated from Mount Saint Joseph High School, and have continued their friendship since, they said.
They agreed that the event is a tradition that Catonsville residents sharehas grown over time.
"It's a perpetuating tradition that just keeps going," McGinty, 52, said.
"I like the whole thing, from start to finish," said Danae McDevitt, a Catonsville native and member of the celebrations committee. "I know people who travel from other states to be here."
Christopher Groninger, 48, was one of those people. He traveled from his home in Pennsylvania to spend the holiday with his daughter, Kayleigh Groninger, 26, who moved to Catonsville in 2010.
"They have a pretty big celebration [in her hometown of Lewisburg] but it pales in comparison to this one," Kayleigh said.
The holiday ends with a fireworks display near Catonsville High School at the corner of Rolling Road and Valley Road at 9:15 p.m.