Laurel Fourth of July committee volunteer Traci Crouse, of Laurel, said the Independence Day celebration is more than the fireworks display that attracts some 50,000 people.

The city will spring to life the morning of July 5 with a parade, and Granville Gude Park in Laurel Lakes will be the scene of all sorts of daylong activities and entertainment organized by the Fourth of July committee, which began its planning last August.

Festival food including hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue, Italian sausages, cheese steaks, smoked turkey legs and Asian and Mediterranean food — as well as traditional fair favorites such as lemonade, an old-fashioned soda bar, funnel cakes, ice cream and lemonade— will be on hand.

Vendors will offer craft and novelty items, face-painting and henna tattoos, as well home repair services, and an acupuncturist will perform evaluations.

"We try to have something to please everyone," Crouse said.

Throughout the year, fundraisers such as restaurant nights, an indoor yard sale, a spaghetti dinner, golf tournament and bull roast generate funds to help pay for the event — which costs an estimated $35,000 — along with corporate sponsorships and donations.

Crouse said that collecting donations and recruiting new members with fresh ideas are the committee's greatest challenges.

Committee chairwoman Carreen Koubek believes the core group of current volunteers needs a rest.

"I'd like to see more faces around the table bringing new ideas to promote the success of future Fourth of July celebrations," committee chairwoman Carreen Koubek said.

Crouse said it would really help if every person who attended the event would put $1 in the donation can.

Even after serving on the Laurel Fourth of July committee for 17 years, Crouse said she still gets goose bumps when the crowd goes wild at the fireworks finale.

"If I ever stop getting that feeling, I will leave the committee. Until then, it is my pleasure to be a part of such a great group of volunteers," she said.

For information about volunteer opportunities with the Laurel Fourth of July committee, contact or 301-725-5306 ext. 2444. For details on this year's events, go to

July 5 schedule

All events are held at Granville Gude Park, 8300 Mulberry St.

9 a.m. Fourth of July parade lineup begins at Sixth and Montgomery streets; vintage cars congregate in the parking lot behind McCullough Field.

11 a.m. Parade begins, heading east on Montgomery Street; then south on Fourth Street to Cherry Lane.

11 a.m. Food and craft vendors open and horseshoe contest begins. Car show registration on Mulberry Street between Lowe's and the Holiday Inn Express.

Noon Car show opens.

2 p.m. Registration opens for hot dog eating contest.