A super public rally to show local support for the Ravens is planned in downtown Bel Air on the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 1, two days before the Super Bowl in New Orleans, where the Ravens will take on the San Francisco 49ers.
Though plans were still being firmed up late Thursday afternoon, the rally will be held at the large parking lot at the corner of South Main Street and Churchville Road (Route 22) at noon on the 1st, Bob Thomas, spokesman for Harford County government, said.
The lot, known locally as the old tire company lot, is along Main Street between the Dark Horse Saloon and Churchville Road .
Thomas said county government, which owns the lot, is one of several organizations involved in coordinating and sponsoring the rally. Others include the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, Harford County Chamber of Commerce and several businesses.
A flier announcing the rally released by the county late Thursday afternoon says there will be music, food and face painting. Prizes will be given out for the best dressed Ravens fan.
The site was chosen for its size, accessibility and ease of handling security, according to Thomas, who said those organizing the rally are following a blueprint from 2009, when the same property was used for a rally before the Ravens took on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, which the Steelers won, 23-14.
Thomas said more than 500 people attended the 2009 rally and with this one coming before the season's ultimate game, a larger crowd is very likely, depending on the weather.
"You have a number of considerations, among them the impact on traffic," he said, explaining why the location and a noon start are being planned, rather than holding the rally late in the afternoon when people are getting off work.
Downtown Bel Air and its bar and restaurant area are a major gathering place for Ravens fans on game days, and the team's run to the Super Bowl has been no exception. Public rallies were held Jan. 11 inside Looney's Pub, because of the rain, prior to the AFC divisional game in which the Ravens beat Denver, and then last Friday in Armory Park prior to Sunday's victory over the Patriots in the AFC Championship.
On Wednesday night, the county began illuminating its main office building in purple lighting nightly to show more Ravens pride.