The Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc. hosted a terrific family-oriented event. I want to thank everyone who came out to participate in our events. Most of our activities provide an opportunity for families to go somewhere fun on the 4th of July. Given all of the families that I saw out there, I would say that we were successful in that effort.
Our Committee, which runs the Bel Air Independence Day celebration along with its many volunteers, believes that a community is improved by making an event, of this nature, happen. The nature of this event is rooted deeply in national traditions and local preferences. We strive to be family friendly and want nothing more than to create good memories that will live for a long time. I would like to list at least some of these fine people on our Committee as their efforts were considerable.
The event was kicked off at the Bel Air High School with the Flag Raising Ceremony performed by members of the American Legion Post #39 with Robert Hudson as the bugler and also Miss Bel Air Gabrielle Kerby as the National Anthem soloist (who also performed at three other flag ceremonies during the morning events).
The enormously popular Horseshoe Pitching Contest was overseen by Greg Cooper and friends and family at Rockfield Park. The contestants, who are generally a very hearty and down to earth lot, expressed their sincere thanks to Greg for his efforts, as do I. Fun for the whole family was the Water Balloon Toss Contest, expertly officiated by the Bel Air Kiwanis and their merry league of fellow helpers at Shamrock Park.
That was followed by the Costume Contest which allowed people to dress up in outfits that would normally turn heads. I want to thank Michael Blum for taking the reins of this event as it needed an experienced person with a strong outgoing personality, which he has in abundance. He was assisted by Miss Bel Air, Gabrielle Kerby.
The Bel Air Police assisted by Explorer Post 9010 gave participating kids a fun and informative Bicycle Rodeo. They have done a great job of connecting with the youth in Bel Air.
The Watermelon Eating Contest has clearly become our morning anchor event which was both fun to participate in and extremely entertaining to watch and was chaired by Joann Hathazi and assisted by her many good friends.
Last, but not least, there are a lot of children growing up in Bel Air who will always remember Michael Blum as “Uncle Sam Says”. This gives Mike, aka the Parade Chairman, a chance to have fun with some of the kids who will be watching his parade in the evening.
The Evening activities, which include the parade and fireworks, are what the majority of the community comes to see. Michael Blum chairs the Parade Committee with great enthusiasm and talent. As a spectator, I know that you cannot even begin to appreciate the amount of effort, skill and imagination that goes into organizing the parade.
However, let me also tell you that Michael, completely out of sight from the public eye, has brought the parade to new heights with innovated approaches to administrating the event. He wants nothing more than to provide quality entertainment and to showcase the various organizations who want to participate. I have no doubt that Bel Air has the best organized parade in the nation under his direction.
The fireworks were well attended at Rockfield Manor. Committee member Bill Smith was at the launch site of the fireworks at Rockfield Park and oversaw that first-class event. Many thanks are due to Jones Junction for sponsoring them this year. What could we do without good and responsible companies like them?
No less effort was expended by volunteers who performed many of our administrative duties, such as John Hayes who coordinated the vendors, Aaron Cahall who handled our press releases and Michael Blum who completely upgraded our website and also designed and produced our 20,000 program booklets that were distributed around the community the week before the 4th.
All of these volunteers (and many others) gave us 100 percent and made this event happen.
The Bel Air Town Police, assisted by several Harford County sheriffs deputies, provided overwhelming support and assistance. We also heavily relied on the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company Emergency Medical Services for all day coverage. Finally, I would like to express my deep admiration of the Town DPW workers. We would need another 20 volunteers to do what they do for the Committee. The Town of Bel Air deserves a hearty thank you from all of the people who enjoyed the Fourth of July festivities.
Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc.