Baltimore Ravens tight end Ed Dickson took his turn signing autographs for an enthusiastic group of fans inside Bel Air's Dark Horse Saloon Friday night.
Despite the cold and raining weather outside and a threat of possible sleet and snow to come, Dickson was warmly welcomed, as he became the latest of several teammates to participate in signing and personal appearance events in Harford County before and since last Sunday's Super Bowl victory in New Orleans.
One of those who met Dickson was Susan Melefsky, who came to the Dark Horse with Dena Raimondo. Melefsky, a teacher at North Bend Elementary School, presented Dickson with a stack of letters from students congratulating him and the team.
Dickson's appearance preceded what turned out to be a small, family-oriented Ravens Rally inside the Dark Horse between 5 and 6:30 p.m., sponsored by the Bel Air Downtown Alliance.
Early on, the maybe 75 people inside one of the rooms at the Dark Horse appeared more interested in a Friday night dinner out with the family than doing any heavy duty cheering and whooping it up, as emcee Tyler Daniel from WXCY-FM announced the start of "Rally Number Five" in Bel Air.
Aside from Daniel, who was adeptly cranking up some classic rock on the sound system, and for the folks from Natty Boh gear, who were set up at the entrance to the room, the main action was eating, chatting and watching one of the big screen TVs arrayed around the walls, several still showing Super Bowl XLVII clips and related doings involving the new NFL champs.
"Family friendly," was the way one person in the room aptly described the atmosphere. Young children outnumbered the adults by about 3 or 4 to 1, and there were still a couple of seats open at the bar and one or two vacant tables.
There was one constant of the past several weeks in Bel Air and elsewhere in Harford County: Just about everyone was wearing a Ravens jersey or some other purple attire with the team logo or name.
The rally itself was scheduled for 90 minutes, time to get people fired up for the appearance by Dickson, who signed autographs and handed out photos. Tickets for the signing were a modest $25.
According to the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, some of the proceeds from Friday's activities are to be donated to the Brigance Brigade Foundation to fight ALS, started by former Ravens player O.J. Brigance and his wife, Chandra, to aid ALS victims and their families. O.J. Brigance was diagnosed with the neuromuscular disease in 2007.
The Downtown Alliance had originally hoped to hold a post-Super Bowl rally outside on the county-owned parking lot next to the Dark Horse but decided to move the event inside because of the threat of bad weather Friday, a judgment that turned out to be a wise one.