Marching bands from Howard and Mt. Hebron high schools joined fire trucks and other participants along a parade route down Main Street Saturday that stretched from Ellicott Mills Drive to Maryland Avenue to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department.
"The streets were lined with people," said John Meitl, president of the board of directors for the Ellicott City Volunteer Firemen's Association Inc. "In some places they were two and three people deep."
Meitl added that "parades are for the kids. I was in the parade and seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids was exactly what we were looking for."
The parade, which closed Main Street in Historic Ellicott City for an hour, was followed in the evening by the Fire and Ice Celebration Gala at the Thomas B. Baker Armory on Montgomery Road.
Meitl said "nearly 300" people attended the event, which was sponsored by Howard County General Hospital.
"It was a smashing success. It far exceeded our expectations," Meitl said. "We had a very nice mix of people from the community that came ready to celebrate with us."
Meitl said many volunteers contributed to the success of the evening, including event planner Michelle Wildman and Red Birch Design, which decorated the Armory.
Meitl said money from the fundraiser will go toward "the purchase of fire and rescue equipment and to train the firefighters and EMTs."
There are two fire stations in Ellicott city — No. 2 on Montgomery Road near the Route 29 intersection and No. 8 on Route 99 near Mt. Hebron High School. Each is a combination station, run by career and volunteers firefighters.