With both ends of the bad-weather spectrum — thunderstorms and scorching heat — looming in the forecast, Towson Fourth of July parade organizers were given a warm, breezy morning to put on its annual show for the community.
"It can't rain on our parade," parade chair Maryann Albaugh said as the parade wound down.
"The weather really cooperated," Albaugh said. "It's lovely seeing all the smiling faces, and people standing and cheering."
Thousands lined the parade route, which began at the corner of Bosley Avenue and Towsontown Boulevard and went up Bosley, down Allegheny Avenue, and ended at a viewing stand in front of the courthouse garden on Pennsylvania Avenue.
On some shady stretches of sidewalk, spectators lined up five and six rows deep to enjoy the usual parade attractions.
This year's parade included several marching bands, including the Marching Ravens and Calvert Hall College High School Marching Band, dozens of classic cars and fire engines, and a host of community groups.
Grantley Pyke, of Hampden, came from the city with his son, Atlas, 12, and Ramona, 8, to enjoy what he called a "more traditional" parade than some of the alternatives, such as the pet parade at the American Visionary Arts Museum.
"It's a nice, local parade," he said. "This is more in keeping with the spirit of the Fourth."
Pyke enjoyed the fire trucks and marching bands, while Ramona was most excited by the marchers who tossed candy into the crowd.
Lisa Kanning, of Monkton, recently moved to the area and brought her daughters, Shea, 3, and Campbell, 1, to their first Towson parade Wednesday.
"It's been good," she said. "It's nice to get out and get a nice impression of the community and enjoy a nice warm day."
Others were lucky enough to have the opportunity to both observe and participate.
Just behind the bike rush, members of the Rodgers Forge community marched in the parade as this year's featured neighborhood.
At the end of the parade route, Jill Fisher and her daughters, Brinley, 10, Karis, 5, and Arden, 4, said they especially enjoyed the chance to see and be recognized by all of the parade's spectators.
Kim Glorioso also marched with her community, but said it was ultimately a small part of her two-day parade experience.
While she and other community members were decorating their truck and having a cookout Wednesday night, family members were putting up caution tape and setting up chairs on the corner of Allegheny and Bosley, where they have sat for years.
She said it's a testament to the strong Towson community that people find themselves back at the parade each year.
Del. Bill Frank, vice chair of the parade committee, said the volunteer spirit that went into this year's parade stood out to him in comparison with years past.
Frank said it's a yearlong process, meaning that the committee and its team of volunteers won't have much time to rest on its laurels.
"Our work for next year will start next week," Frank said.