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Start to finish, Laurel's Independence Day is a blast

Laurel residents and visitors celebrated with American pride at Independence Day festivities that started with a parade and ended with fireworks at Granville Gude Park on Saturday, July 5.

"This is my first year here. It was a festive, Independence Day parade," said Linda Clifton, a Laurel resident for four years. "My grandson loved the firetrucks."

Others enjoyed the parade as well, especially since the Laurel Fourth of July Committee brought back the vintage cars.

"We liked all the vintage cars, seems like there were more than last time," said Laurel resident Cynthia Cupples.

"I try to make it every year for the car show. I guess last year they didn't have it. I have my 1974 AMC here," said Laurel resident and car show participant Bob Sliko. "I've been coming at least 10 years to the car show and it's always fun for me. Of course we come back for the fireworks, but for me, it's all about the car show."

Laurel resident Bobby Eastman left work early to participate in the car show with his red Mustang.

"I've been in Laurel since '67 and I love the old cars. I would come more frequently if they had the car show all the time," Eastman said. "All the owners are friendly. If they know you have a car, they're even friendlier. It's just nice."

"It's going great, it's going wonderful. The weather is beautiful. I've never known to be cool as this for the 4th of July," said police Cpl. Joe Johnson. "I've been coming here for 15 years and I think it's getting better."

Vendor Arlene Hall created games for small children to enjoy while earning an age-appropriate prize.

"This is our fourth time here, but we've been doing these games for five years," Hall said. "Most games are mainly for the bigger kids and that's what drew us to it. It makes our day when the kids leave with a smile."

Sharon and Dan Sivley are retiring this year from running the event. They are passing over their responsibilities to Mike Templeton.

Sharon Sivley said they recruited Templeton to help out with this year's car show and starting next year, Templeton is taking over.

"A lot of people have come up to us and said what a nice event it is. When we first started we only had a minimal amount of cars. Today we have 85 cars. This is a good turnout," Sharon Sivley said.

"Just watching everyone having a good time and talking about cars is the best thing about this," Templeton said. "Most of them know each other and if they don't, then they find people with similar vehicles and become friends."

When the fireworks began five minutes earlier than the set time of 9:15 p.m., Granville Gude Park was packed with spectators who came to watch the display shot over Laurel Lakes. Others sat on top of their cars in the parking lot in front of Lowe's in the Laurel Lakes Shopping Center.

"The fireworks were spectacular. They're the best part," Sharon Sivley said. "If you have not seen it, I highly recommend them."

Parade winners

Grand marshal award: Lesley Brinton, American Legion Post 60; Charles Brannan, Laurel Lions Club; Al Burley, Laurel CERT

Most outstanding: Laurel Volunteer Fire Department

Ted Metzger Memorial Award for best scout troop: American Heritage Girls

Dick Bromley Special Award for most innovative: Charm City Rollers

Jim Blumenshine Award for outstanding civic, community group or organization: American Legion Post 60

Walter H. Allen Memorial Award for youth group: Calverton Poms and Batons

Carol Bounds Memorial Award for musical group: Lakeside Lutheran Marching Band

Best fire department: Savage Volunteer Fire Department

Best rescue squad: Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad

Best retired/antique fire apparatus: Bernie Punte, 1939 Ahrens-Fox firetruck

Best commercial/business vehicle: Donaldson Funeral Home

Best float: U-Store Self Storage

Judges awards: Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department; Steve Johnson, 1969 Crown fire coach; Laurel House of Horrors; Branchville Volunteer Fire Department; Cub Scout Pack 606; West Laurel Rag Tag Band.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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