The stage is set for a patriotic extravaganza along the Susquehanna River as Havre de Grace gears up for its annual Independence Day Celebration Saturday, complete with fireworks and general festivities.
A big parade is also planned in Edgewood on Saturday evening, the centerpiece of the annual Joppatowne-Edgewood Independence Day Celebration.
The Havre de Grace celebration includes a parade and concert Saturday, followed by the fireworks. The city kicked-off is Independence Day observance with a week-long carnival that opened Tuesday.
The carnival runs through Saturday at Tydings Park and will cost $24 for unlimited rides through Friday, or $25 on Saturday. Individual ride tickets are also available nightly. Tickets are available at local merchants, the city's tourism center and the Havre de Grace Activity Center.
After that, the city will roll out its parade and fireworks display.
The parade starts at 2 p.m. on Union Avenue and is dedicated to the memory of Kalman Riegelhaupt, who served as parade chairperson for many years, organizer Carolyn Narvell said.
"We lost Kal this year, but our parade would not have continued without his dedication to the event for decades," Narvell said.
The parade will feature more than 100 majorette or dance units, as well as clowns, color guards, antique vehicles, custom cars and equestrian units.
It will also include about 20 musical units, namely: Havre de Grace High School, Aberdeen High School, the Ravens' Marching Band, John F. Nicoll Pipes and Drums, the Atlantic Watch Pipe Band, Ulster Scottish Pipe Band, the Harford Highlanders Pipe Band, Upper Chesapeake Community Band, Westminster Community Band, Calvert Hall College High School Band, the American Originals, the Reilly Raiders, the Archer- Epler Musketeers, the Fusion Corps, Shenandoah Sound, Carolina Gold, the Lakeshoreman, the Sun Devils, the Tampa Bay Thunder and St. Michael-Albertville High School.
"We have some really interesting music," Narvell pointed out.
Besides the music, a very large cow will roll through the parade as the mascot of Turkey Hill ice cream.
The grand marshal will be former mayor Philip Barker.
Street parking is available for the parade but handicapped parking in Tydings Park is very limited. All activities, aside from the carnival, are free and handicap-accessible.
A concert featuring the classic rock of the Alton Smith Band starts at 7 p.m. in the Yacht Basin and will feature DJ Jeff Thompson as master of ceremonies. That show will continue after the fireworks, until 10:30 p.m.
No rain dates are scheduled.
Narvell said earlier this week that the event was coming together smoothly and she does not expect any issues, including any misbehavior at the carnival.
"We are supported by our total police forces," she said, explaining the Harford County Sheriff's Office and Department of Natural Resources will have a presence as well.
"There is probably going to be 40 police officers during the [Saturday] event," she said. "We have a very large security force and as we said, it's a family event and we expect people to act that way."
She reminded attendees that they cannot set out chairs or blankets before 8 a.m. on Saturday or the items will be confiscated.
"At 8 a.m., it's like a mad rush," Narvell said with a laugh. "We have very, very dedicated spectators. It's a nice family event, that's all."
Narvell said the estimated cost of the whole event is $75,000, with $24,000 for the fireworks show.
T-shirts of the celebration are available at the Chamber of Commerce Office on Pennington Avenue and will be sold at the carnival for $7 to $8.
People can also call the Dockmaster for slip rentals in Tydings Park at 410-939-0155.
For more information on the event, call the Havre de Grace Tourism office at 410-939-2100 or the Committee at 410-939-4362. Information is also available at http://www.havredegracejuly4.org.
Saturday's Joppatowne-Edgewood parade will be held in Edgewood this year, with participants lining up at 5 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club building. The parade will kick off at 6 p.m., organizer Dianna Guthrie said.
Its theme is "Ageless Excellence Marching Forward" and will feature 96-year-old Ken Hammer as the grand marshal.
A World War II veteran will also be singing the national anthem. The event will conclude with a free concert by a 36-piece brass band at Flying Point Park.
Sen. Nancy Jacobs, who recently announced her retirement from politics, will be honored in the Edgewood-Joppa parade.
"We are hoping she will be able to make it," Guthrie said.