Havre de Grace celebrates the Fourth of July

Even the high heat could not keep away the crowds in Havre de Grace for the annual Independence Day parade.

The 2 p.m. parade kicked off a day of activities Sunday, including the carnival and fireworks scheduled for later.

Meandering down Union Avenue, the Havre de Grace parade featured representatives from local police forces, politicians and a variety of marching bands.

For Jack Morris, the marching bands were a highlight of the parade. Morris came along with Peggy Morris, both of Hunt Valley, to celebrate the upcoming holiday.

"It's celebrating our birthday," he said.

Jack Morris used to lived in Havre de Grace and returned to the city for the parade so they could be part of the traditional holiday celebrations.

Although this was their first year, the Jursik family came with expectations and favorites for the parade.

The marching bands were a favorite for Claudia Jursik, who recently moved to Havre de Grace with her husband, Andy Jursik.

The couple is from New Jersey and brought Andy's father, Andy Jursik Sr., who still lives there.

"This is our first year in Havre de Grace and everyone said we had to come to the parade," Claudia Jursik said.

It wasn't the first year for Krystle Young, of Havre de Grace, who had been coming for nearly 20 years, or her friend, Lindsey Gilhooly, also of Havre de Grace, who was on her 10th year.

They come for the tradition and fun and as Gilhooly said, because "the kids have a good time." In addition to all of that, Independence Day is also about freedom, the women said.

"I think of freedom, of being proud of the red, white and blue," Young said.

They also planned on watching the fireworks Sunday night on their boat.

Barbara Jackson planned to go to the fireworks with her family as well. Jackson came to the parade with her niece, Chrissy Leonard, and great-nieces 11-year-old Kaylee and 5-year-old Olivia Leonard.

She has been coming for 20 years, Jackson said, and looked forward to the bag pipes.

Chrissy Leonard didn't have any favorites.

"I just like it all," she said.

Much like Jackson, the Jones family had been coming for a very long time. This year, Ted Jones came with 7-year-old Scott Jones, both of Havre de Grace.

His family has been coming for as long as the parade had been around, Ted Jones said.

"This is an annual tradition for us and our family for many, many years," he added.

Of all the acts, Jones said they enjoyed the fire trucks, Baltimore Ravens group and dancers. For them, Independence Day is about freedom and "honoring our fellow soldiers."

The hot weather didn't stop Amber Rotundo and 12-year-old Andrew Rotundo, of Middle River, from making the trek to Havre de Grace Sunday.

Andrew's favorite part was what came after the parade - the carnival and fireworks - but Amber Rotundo said she liked experiencing the "tight community" of Havre de Grace.

"I just like the crowds and everybody coming together," she added.

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