In 2008, Allview resident Mike Tompkins drove up to Atholton Park in his tan 1951 Range Rover to see the neighborhood's Fourth of July parade.
Little did he know that he would be pulled into the parade lineup and get to experience the celebration from his car, behind fire engines and alongside youngsters riding their decorated bicycles.
"It really catches the spirit of the event," said Tompkins, regarding his last-minute entrance into the Allview Area Community Association Independence Day Parade.
In fact, he enjoyed himself so much that he resurrected the event in 2010 after it was canceled in 2009 due to lack of management.
"I hated to see it go away," said Tompkins, who said he plans to keep the parade going for years to come.
Because of Tompkins' persistence, the neighborhood will come out July 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to keep the tradition alive.
Children will sport patriotic tattoos and families will camp outside their homes to see familiar faces walking their dogs dressed in red, white and blue costumes or following antique fire trucks as they ride their decorated lawn mowers.
"I don't know where this exists anymore," said Tompkins, when describing how anyone can become a part of the procession.
Unlike other local parades, Tompkins laughed when he said, "I don't think people are quite reserving spots starting at 8 a.m.
"[Our parade] is nothing commercial. There are no committees to manage participation; we are none of that," he said.
Instead, Tompkins said the Allview parade is about celebrating Independence Day with a close-knit community. He said it is about the little things, like the community association president's daughter singing the national anthem and the generations of families coming together and reuniting for the tradition.
According to Tompkins, participants and viewers will gather in the Atholton Park parking lot, where community members will judge the children's best-dressed, bike decoration, and best float competitions.
At 11:45 a.m., the local Cub Scouts will lead the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the start of the parade down Donleigh Road. Girl Scouts are expected to hand out American Flags to the spectators, and state Sen. Allan Kittleman, who is running for county executive in 2014, is scheduled to make an appearance.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun