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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-725-5306 ext. 2444. For details on this year's events, go to laurel4th.org.
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.
2:30 p.m. Hot dog eating contestbegins.
3-5 p.m. Free field games such as a giant rainbow parachute, corn hole, bubbles and minute-to-win-it, hosted by Laurel Department of Parks and Recreation.
3:15 p.m. Grand opening, flag raising and invocation by the Rev. Warren Litchfield.
4 p.m. Parade awards announced; car show ends.
5 p.m. Oracle performs live music.
7 p.m. Welcome by Laurel Mayor Craig Moe and the Laurel City Council; Laurel Fourth of July Committee awards announced.
9:15 p.m. (dusk) Fireworks over Laurel Lakes.
City officials warn that parking will be challenging on July 5 because of the ongoing construction at Towne Centre at Laurel on Fourth Street.
Sixth Street will close at 9 a.m. for parade contestants to begin lining up. Roads along the parade route will close as necessary for the parade to move along Montgomery Street east to Fourth Street to Cherry Lane.
To allow for fireworks preparation, eastbound Cherry Lane at Ashford Boulevard will close at 1 p.m. and westbound Cherry Lane at Route 1 will close at 5 p.m., as mandated by state and county fire marshals to prevent contact with fallout from fireworks at Laurel Lakes. No vehicular or pedestrian traffic will be allowed into the area until after the fireworks display is over and the area is checked for fallout debris, approximately 11 p.m.
City officials urged fireworks spectators to arrive early and leave by alternate routes. No pets will be permitted at the events at Granville Gude Park, except service dogs.