Local families were in that massive crowd welcoming the Ravens [Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock]

Last week I wrote about two area couples who made the trek to New Orleans to watch the Super Bowl, and this week I would like to recount the Ravens Welcome Home event through the eyes of some locals who attended the hometown celebration on Feb. 5.

Sykesville residents Tara and Roger Sterling and their son Nicholas, a freshman at Marriotts Ridge High School, had decided in advance that if the Ravens won the Super Bowl, they were going to celebrate the victory with the team and experience Ray Lewis' last dance through the tunnel at M&T Bank Stadium.

They happily endured the traffic on Interstate 95 in order to be part of the energy and excitement of the day and chose to stand on the field since they usually cannot do so. From their vantage point, they watched most of the event via the stadium screen, but they did get to see Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh up close.

Janet Yingling, a para-educator at West Friendship Elementary School, heard about the traffic in advance and was able to avoid the worst of it by traveling Route 40 into Baltimore. She wanted to take her daughter, Jessica, to the celebration because they both attended the last time the Ravens won the Super Bowl, in 2001. Jessica was in kindergarten then; now she is a senior at Marriotts Ridge.

The Yinglings traveled with friends Barb Sharbaugh and her daughters Brooke and Katie, and Katie's friend, Lauren Folley. Like Jessica, Brooke is a senior at Marriotts Ridge, and Katie and Lauren are 8th graders at Mount View Middle School. The group found seating in the upper deck.

They and the Sterlings were fortunate to gain entry to the stadium since it quickly filled to capacity, and the fire marshal ordered the gates closed at 12:30 p.m. The scene was something Tara described as "crazy," with people climbing the stadium walls and fences in an attempt to get inside.

"I did not expect the stadium to be full and overflowing," said Janet. "I think [the Ravens team members] were overwhelmed by the turnout."

She went on to say that "when the team arrived, they came out of the tunnel in groups: coaching staff, special teams, offense, defense, and of course, Ray Lewis, who was carrying the Lombardi trophy. He sat it down in front of him and did his squirrel dance. The place went crazy!"

Tara described that moment as her family's favorite. However, the entire experience was one to remember: "The fans were rocking, chanting oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, playing football, and smiling from ear to ear. You could see purple for miles!"

It was, she summarized, "an awesome day!"

Band teacher Amy Syversen would like to recognize the February Musicians of the Month at West Friendship Elementary School: Pierce Baur, trombone; Hanna Dave, flute; Cole Felch, bassoon; Clare Hinds, flute; Paige Holland, clarinet; Emma Morath, French horn; and Julia Skopic, trombone. Kudos to these students for their hard work and terrific attitudes!

Love a good deal? The Marriotts Ridge Music Foundation will host its annual flea market on Saturday, March 2, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the high school cafeteria. Come check out the huge assortment of secondhand treasures.

Entry to the flea market costs $1, and all purchases are cash only. Proceeds will benefit the foundation.

If you have items to donate, drop them off on Friday, March 1, 4-8 p.m., in the cafeteria. Questions? Email Karen@karencherry.com.

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