Edgewood kicks off Independence Day weekend celebrations

The Edgewood and Joppatowne communities kicked off Fourth of July weekend with a parade Saturday night, celebrating the theme of "Hope, Liberty and Justice For All."

Representatives from the military and local high school bands joined several floats and organizations in the parade, which also featured the ever-popular Baltimore Twilighters Marching Band.

Children eagerly waited on the sidewalks for tossed candies, but for Nolan Herndon, however, the various vehicles were his favorite part.

"I liked that huge black fire truck," he said.

Nolan, a fourth-grader, came with his parents and his triplet sisters, Alexa and Paige, to cheer on their older twin brothers, Chad and Cole, ninth-graders who performed with the Patterson Mill High School Marching Band.

"I loved it," Paige said.

Brad and Lori Herndon, their parents, came to "celebrate the important things in America," adding that "small-town America" is America. They are also a military family — Brad Herndon has spent two tours in Afghanistan with the Army.

"I'm a retired Army guy, so [this] means everything," he said.

Out celebrating the nation in the parade were several local politicians, including Clerk of the Court James Reilly, Sen. Nancy Jacobs, Del. Susan McComas and County Councilman Dion Guthrie, whose wife, Dianna Guthrie, was the chairperson for the event.

Though many bands were featured in the parade, including those from Havre de Grace, C. Milton and Patterson Mill high schools, the crowd cheered loudly when Edgewood's own high school band marched through.

For Monica Bunger and her father-in-law, Ben Bunger Jr., coming to the parade to watch loved ones performing is a "tradition."

Ben Bunger III, Ben Bunger Jr.'s son, performed with the Edgewood High School marching band growing up, and on Saturday his son, Anthony Bunger, took the stage.

It's all made possible, Monica Bunger emphasized, because of the work of Brandon Bickham, the current band director.

"He puts his heart and soul into it," she said.

Mark Stern, too, was supporting a son in the marching band, he said, and joined his wife, Catherine, and daughter, Sydnie, to cheer on Dakota, a 10th-grader who was playing saxophone with the C. Milton Wright Marching Band.

"I like the color guard," Sydnie said.

Mark and Catherine Stern agreed that watching the marching bands perform was one of their favorite parts.

"We like to hear the different sounds," Catherine Stern said.

Paying respect to the military was also important to the family, as Mark Stern served in the Army. Catherine Stern said she came out "in honor of him," while he added that supporting the United States was also a part of it.

"It's a time to think about the great nation we live in," Mark Stern said, "and to celebrate it."

One family was attending the parade for the first time Saturday and although Ralph Jackson said the parade was "short," he and Gwen Durbin, joined by Seven Hines and Isaiah Jackson, agreed it was fun and said they especially enjoyed the Baltimore Twilighters.

"It was a very nice day," Durbin said. "It's nice to come out and celebrate your country."

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