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Bel Air Independence Day Committee planning for the return of July 4 fireworks and parade this summer

The Bel Air Independence Day Committee announced it is planning for a return of the July 4 parade and fireworks display this summer, so long as it can meet public health guidelines for safety.

“We had to cancel all July 4 activities for 2020 to protect our community, so we are pleased and hopeful that we can ‘return to normal celebrations’ this year, and we are currently working towards that, in consultation with town, county and state officials,” Committee President Don Stewart said in a statement.

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The traditional Independence Day parade is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 4, followed by a fireworks display at about 9:30 p.m. that same night.

Each year, the all-volunteer Bel Air Independence Day Committee organizes and plans the day-long event months in advance, including the securing of contracts, coverage and agreements with deadlines.

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“Vaccination percentages are growing and civic activities are recovering from their cessation during the COVID-19 pandemic, so we feel that we can now move forward with the necessary planning and organization process to hold the traditional parade down Main Street,” said Michael Blum, the parade chair and vice president of the committee.

In an effort to implement safety measures, the group will likely need more parade marshals than in the past, Blum said, “so we are reaching out to the greater Bel Air community for help.”

Interested parties can visit belairjuly4.org and fill out a volunteer form if they want to be a parade marshal.

Daytime July 4 events, including horseshoe pitching, watermelon eating and “Uncle Sam Says” are also slated to return, with limited audiences and physical distancing requirements in place. Specific details and restrictions are still being worked out and will be announced in late June, based on the health and safety guidelines in effect at that time, Stewart said.

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Reigning Miss Bel Air Independence Day, Chiamaka Ezeonyebuchi, who retains that title throughout 2021 and who plans to compete in the Miss Maryland pageant in late June 2021, will be the official hostess of all events and the grand marshal of the parade. Her successor to the title will be chosen in early 2022.

In February, the Havre de Grace City Council approved applications for several events, including Independence Day activities. A downtown parade along Union Avenue, with a theme of honoring healthcare heroes, is scheduled for 2 p.m. July 4 as are several concerts later that evening at Hutchins and Concord Point parks prior to fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

A carnival, which serves as a fundraiser for the Havre de Grace Independence Day Commission, is scheduled for June 14 through June 19, in the swale of Tydings Park and adjacent Yacht Basin parking lot.

Organizers for the Darlington Lions Independence Day Celebration have decided to proceed with planning for their event, but are still working out a number of specifics.

Larry Burton, the event organizer, said he’s filed for permits for road closures, gotten commitments for support from Harford County Sheriff’s deputies and reserved Francis Silver Park, and has reached out to the county health department regarding any COVID-19 mitigation requirements.

“But we are on hold regarding some of the details like whether we are going to have an on-site food vendor, children’s games, or be inviting school bands —or whether they would be allowed to come,” Burton said. “Whether we move forward and what the event ends up looking like if we do, depends on the COVID situation in the next few months.”

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