Havre de Grace residents celebrate Independence Day with a patriotic parade and fireworks show. (David Anderson & Kelsey Hughes, BSMG)

The throngs of Independence Day parade-goers lining South Union Avenue crowded under any patch of shade they could find to ease the stress of the low-90-degree temperatures in Havre de Grace Saturday afternoon.

Drink vendors James Barnes and Holden Schwartz were not keeping still, however. They, and their fellow vendors of beverages and other goods, hustled along the one-mile parade route selling bottles of water and sodas to grateful spectators.

"Sales have been going well," Barnes said. "The heat's definitely helped."

Barnes' and Schwartz' top selling items were their $1 bottles of water, which they hauled in a cooler in a wagon along Union. The proceeds went to their church, Bethel Apostolic Church of Havre de Grace.

"We're having trouble making it all the way down to the other end of town, before we sell all of our bottles of water, so we're constantly having to go back for more," Barnes said.

The parade route ran along Union from the intersection with Warren Street south to Tydings Park.

More than 120 music, dance and majorette entrants were registered for the parade, and many additional military, fire, law enforcement and local business entrants could be seen during the nearly two-and-a-half-hour extravaganza.

People along Union stood and cheered, and in some cases personally thanked soldiers as they walked by or rode in military vehicles toward the entrance to Tydings Park, where the annual Independence Day carnival would be in full swing Saturday evening.

The carnival had been held each night since Tuesday; visitors to Havre de Grace were also treated to a concert from classic rock band Alton Street in the City Yacht Basin in Tydings Park, and a fireworks show after sunset that lit up the sky over the carnival.

The activities were all part of the 2013 Independence Celebration, put on by the nonprofit Havre de Grace Independence Celebration Inc.

'Best Parade'

"This is the best parade," Sandra Raisin of Baltimore said.

Raisin, who grew up in Aberdeen and had attended the Havre de Grace parade since childhood, watched Saturday's parade from Union Avenue along with her daughter, Shannon, and her friend, Deonte Smith.

"We come up every year, just for the parade and fraternization [with friends and family]," she said.

Shannon Raisin, 22, who also lives in the Baltimore area, said Havre de Grace's parade was the best out of other Independence Day parades she had seen in the metropolitan region.

"I prefer this parade out of all the ones I've been to for the Fourth, so I don't mind the ride out here," she said. "It's fun, it's entertaining, it has a lot to see."

Smith also enjoyed the festivities, which included a slew of musical acts.

"They've had five bands so far that I've seen, that I've enjoyed," he said.

The musical groups included high school bands from around Harford and neighboring counties, and throughout the country, such as the Marching Knights of St. Michael-Albertville High School in Minnesota.

Bands, floats, fun