Alice Totaro sat in a folding chair along Frederick Road on Wednesday afternoon, watching the Catonsville Fourth of July Parade proceed while keeping time with the rhythm of the marching band by tapping a paper fan against her knee.
About 30 minutes into the parade, the six-year-old Catonsville resident exclaimed, "Oh my God!"
Her sister, Olivia, 8, and father, Matt, looked toward the beginning of the parade route and saw the object of Alice's delight, a poodle spray painted to look like an American flag.
For the 66th year, the Catonsville Fourth of July Parade delighted thousands as it proceeded for more than a mile on Frederick Rad from Montrose Avenue to Bloomsbury Avenue.
The parade had something for everyone.
Lawn chairs had been placed along Frederick Road weeks before Independence Day, part of Catonsville tradition to reserve spots along the parade route.
Those chairs were filled with spectators more than an hour before Wednesday's 3 p.m. start.
Wispy clouds and occasional breezes didn't do much to cool the throngs as the strong sun brought temperatures in the mid 90s.
Though some sat along the curbs in the sunlight, many others, including 85-year-old Mary Rudrow, retreated to the shade provided by awnings, buildings, trees and bushes.
Rudrow moved to Catonsville from Middletown, Conn., in 1951 and has made a habit of coming to the parade nearly every year, even in the worst heat.
"I'm not worried about it," Rudrow said as she stood in the shade. "I enjoy a parade."
Particularly she enjoys the music because it reminds her of the days she played the trombone as she marched in parades in her hometown, she said.
Rudrow had plenty of music to enjoy, including performances by the Westminster Marching Band, Carolina Gold Drum and Bugle Corps and Catonsville High School Steel Drum Band.
Accompanying the bands in the parade were patriotically-decorated bicycles, muscle cars, floats, elected officials and other parade fixtures.
The fire engines and convertibles carrying the parade's grand marshals, World War II veterans Jim Barlow and Ed Tecco, brought a smile to the face of 4-year-old Logan Johnson.
Logan, a Bowie resident, took in the sights for the first time atop the shoulders of his father, Steven Johnson. His smile stayed plastered to his face as he shyly waved to firefighters.
"He loves it," Logan's father said. "We'll definitely come back next year."
Catonsville native David Johnson appreciates the sights and sounds the parade has to offer. But the 67-year-old Frederick resident said he enjoys the event because it's an opportunity to spend time with his family.
He and his wife, Melanie Johnson, resident sat in the shade of a tree by the post office on the 1000 block of Frederick Road with his father-in-law, two sons, daughter-in-law and two grandsons.
The 1963 graduate of Catonsville High School said he makes the trip from Frederick to the parade almost every year.
"It's just something to share with the family," David Johnson said. "It's kind of a family tradition."