Harford County helped the Ravens get ready Friday for their biggest game of the year: Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans.
Several hundred people braved the sub-freezing temperatures for a lunchtime rally held on a parking lot at the corner of South Main Street and Churchville Road in downtown Bel Air.
A relative newcomer to Harford may have summed it up best: "It's hard not to be a Ravens fan around here. It's everywhere," Mary Buyse, of Bel Air, said.
Harford County, and Maryland in general, are huge Ravens supports, and that's certainly been the case the last few weeks in the Ravens run in the playoffs, from the first game at home against Indianapolis and continuing with victories on the road against Denver and New England.
The Purple Pride was evident again at Friday's rally, which was organized by Harford County government, the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, the Town of Bel Air and the Harford County Chamber of Commerce.
Harford County Executive David Craig proclaimed Friday "Ravens Day" in Harford to kick off the festivities, which included performances of Ray Lewis' "Squirrel Dance" and a Best Dressed Ravens Contest.
Tyler Daniel from WXCY was the emcee, with help from Harford County Attorney Rob McCord, who donned a purple velour blazer and shiny purple cape.
In his best Louisiana accent, McCord read a poem he wrote for the occasion, with lines such as "The town who bleeds purple has more heart and soul," and "Make San Francisco look like whiners" drawing the biggest cheers from the crowd.
The Ingrassia family – father, Scott, and his three daughters, Emma, Maddie and Ava – performed their Internet hit "Ravens are Fighters" dance and rap.
Buyse, who used to live in New Jersey and was once a Philadelphia Eagles fan, brought two of her children, Henry, 4 and Charlie, 2, who both had their faces painted.
"It's fun. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing to experience the Super Bowl and the excitement generated by a rally," she said.
Sue Rosaschi, of Bel Air, and Craig Hemmerich, of Fallston, who work at M&T Bank near where the rally was held, were having their pictures taken with a giant cardboard cutout of Ray Lewis.
They said they wanted to cheer on the team.
"It's local sprit. It's nice to have these events in your own backyard," Rosaschi said.
Bob Thomas, county government spokesman, said the rally achieved its purpose: "To build spirit in the community and show Harford County's pride and support for the Ravens."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun