Yes, there's an app for Howard's sparkling July 4 fireworks

At the Columbia lakefront July 4, the annual Howard County fireworks show will be choreographed to music streamed through an app.

The 3-year-old app for the Howard County Recreation and Parks-sponsored show is "HoCo July4th,” and also has maps, directions and information about parking and vendors around Lake Kittamaqundi.

The music includes songs by Bruno Mars, Bruce Springsteen and Kate Smith, said Phil Bryan, the superintendent of recreation services.

Vendors will sell soft serve ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, funnel cake, kettle corn, cotton candy and pizza, Bryan said.

The fireworks have previously had a festival with children’s activities, but this year it “just got to be too much.” There will be a military band playing patriotic music until the fireworks start at dusk.

Pump It Up, a children’s amusement center with inflatable indoor playgrounds, will be sponsoring the event. There won’t be any inflatables at the event, Bryan said, but they will have a spinning wheel in their tent where kids can win prizes.

The rain date is July 5, and if that occurs, there will not be fireworks music or the band, Bryan said. Fireworks-goers should not place their blankets or tarps down until 3 p.m. on Independence Day, as the Columbia Association will remove them.

The Columbia fireworks, expected to last about 22 minutes, are the only show in Howard County on July 4, according to state permit records. The show costs about $35,000 to stage, with the money coming from sponsorships and tax dollars.

River Hill will hold its annual parade starting at Pointers Run Elementary School. and two-mile route will finish at Signal Bell Lane and Great Star Drive about two hours later. The event is rain or shine.

The parade includes the 5th District Volunteer Fire Department, the River Hill Community Association, two residents depicting John and Abigail Adams, two neighborhood swim teams, veterans groups and a drill team of fathers with lawn chairs, the Precision Lawn Chair Marching Dads.

It’s a free event that has “lots of giveaways,” with many of the parade units giving out candy or other trinkets, said Susan Smith, the River Hill village manager.

Another parade, the Longfellow Friends of the Traditional Fourth Parade, will celebrate its 48th year this Independence Day. It’s always held rain or shine, said parade coordinator Barbara Russell. “That's what makes it special," she added.

The route runs along Hesperus Drive and Eliot's Oak Road, leaving from the Longfellow Elementary School parking lot at 10 a.m. The parade doesn’t have a formal registration, but it is expected to included the neighborhood swim team — the Harper’s Choice Challenge — kids on decorated scooters and bikes, the Harper’s Choice Community Association Village Board and political candidates.

“It’s always interesting, because you never quite know what’s going to happen," said Russell, who has coordinated the parade for eight years.

Two teams will also face off in the annual softball game. The Eliot’s Oak Nuts will face the Hesperus Wrecks, both of which are formed for the July 4 game.

"Whoever shows up gets to play,” Russell said. “I never know who’s going to show up to play."

More information on the fireworks can be accessed at howardcountymd.gov/july4, and at http://www.villageofriverhill.org/annual-independence-day-parade-2 for the Village of River Hill parade.

lbrennan@baltsun.com

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