Public school students still have almost 10 days left of the school year, but summer is starting to sizzle in Old Town.
Dozens of children will roll down Montgomery Street as part of the city’s Bike Parade on Friday, June 8. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Laurel Armory, 422 Montgomery St., where kids will have a chance to decorate their bikes and learn about bike safety. Then the event moves outdoors, where kids will participate in an obstacle course created by the Laurel Police Department. Next up is the bike parade down Montgomery Street between Fourth and Fifth streets.
The evening ends with ice cream and awards back inside the armory.
We are just one month away from the city’s 40th annual Fourth of July festivities, to be held this year on Saturday, July 7. The day begins with the Independence Day parade at 11 a.m., which starts at Sixth and Montgomery streets, heads east down Montgomery Street, and then turns south down Fourth Street to Laurel Lakes.
Laurel Lakes is the site of the remainder of the day’s festivities, including a car show, field events, hot dog eating contest and music. The celebration concludes with fireworks over Laurel Lakes at 9:15 p.m.
The city’s Independence Day celebrations, beloved by residents and visitors alike, are organized by the Laurel Fourth of July Committee, an all-volunteer group. The committee is supported and promoted by the city, but must raise all the necessary funds from mostly private sources to pay for the fireworks and other events. Donations to the festivities can be made online at laurel4th.org.
There are a couple of great ways to include reading in your family’s summer plans. Prince George’s County’s 2018 summer reading program, dubbed Libraries Rock, is in full swing. Registration can be completed online at pgcmls.beanstack.org or at the Laurel Library.
If you have young children, be sure to register for the county’s Ready 2 Read Books from Birth program. This initiative sends participating children from birth to age 5 a free book each month by mail. Prince George’s County’s program serves more than 5,000 children and is a partner with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Two of my own kids are registered and we have received books ranging from classics like “The Little Engine That Could” and “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” to new favorites like “The Gruffalo” and “Last Stop on Market Stree.” Register online at pgcmls.info
Plan to keep cool this summer with two free Old Town favorites. The splash pad and water feature at Emancipation Community Park along Eighth Street debuted last year and proved a hit with parents and kids alike. It will be open from June 18 to Sept. 3 from 12 to 2 p.m. daily.
The Laurel Museum, 817 Main St., is always a pleasant spot to spend an hour or two. You can tour the exhibit “We the People: How Civic Engagement Has Shaped Laurel” or take the kids to play in Diven’s Den, an interactive STEM-inspired learning space in the basement. The Laurel Museum is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.
The Laurel Historical Society is also accepting applications for the 2018 McCeney Scholarships, named in honor of the late Jim McCeney, the society’s longtime chairman and president. The society will award two $1,000 scholarships to graduating Laurel-area high school students who have shown a commitment to excellence in social studies and plan to continue those endeavors at the college level. The deadline to apply is Friday, June 29. A complete list of eligibility requirements and application guidelines is available at laurelhistoricalsociety.org or call 3301-725-7975.
The Laurel Senior Friendship Club is seeking vendors for its Fall Craft Show on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center. Please contact Pat Harding at 301-490-8641 or Barbara Dorney at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and a vendor application.