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On behalf of the Town of Bel Air, I would like to thank the citizens of greater Bel Air for their patience and understanding with our cancellation of the 30th Annual Town of Bel Air Christmas Parade and Celebration on Sunday, December 1, 2019 — the first such cancellation in over a dozen years.

I know that many, many people — adults and children alike; teenagers and “tweens” and everyone — worked long and hard, as always, getting ready for the event. So did we! And many must be disappointed.

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We had over 25 different scout troops ready to participate — boys, girls, brownies, daisies, cubs, wolves, Webelos and more. Plus, 10 Harford County high school bands were ready to play in their holiday finest. And we had civic groups, clubs, dance companies, cheer, twirl and jump-rope organizations, all of whom had worked up fun routines for the parade. We planned to showcase marching dogs, acrobats, beauty queens and decorated floats! We even were expecting the largest contingent of horses ever in our Christmas parade, including two horse-drawn carriages! Alas, it was not to be.

But a very wise woman, to whom I have been married for almost 42 years, said to me that, truly, nothing was totally lost, because it was the journey that counted. And she is correct. The fellowship, fun, friendship, camaraderie, commitment and hard work that every individual unit put in preparing for the event remains something each group can be proud of. The scout troops that spent the entire fall making their parade costumes had a great time doing that, and maybe to show them off, they can have a holiday party that will last longer, and be as much fun, as a 15-minute parade appearance.

Bel Air is indeed a wonderful, family-friendly place, and something like this just brings us all together in a very unusual way. The idea of holding a Christmas celebration in Bel Air is supported by Town of Bel Air Commissioners Mayor Amy Chmielewski, Chairperson of the Town of Bel Air Board, and her fellow Commissioners Patrick T. Richards, Kevin M. Bianca, Erin S. Hughes and Donna L. Kahoe. I also must thank the Town of Bel Air Administration, led by Town Manager L. Jesse Bane, for its support, and especially Bel Air Director of Economic Development Trish Heidenreich and her staff. Thanks also goes to Town of Bel Air Director of Public Works Stephen Kline and his hard-working crew, most especially Freddy Murillo. I also need to thank the hard-working members of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, led by Executive Director Chris Pineda and Director of Development Jennifer Falcone. Finally, as always, nothing good in Bel Air can ever happen without the unflinching support and assistance of the Town of Bel Air Police Department, and especially Police Chief Charles Moore and Deputy Chief Richard Peschek.

On a personal note, I want to thank the Town of Bel Air for having the heart and sensitivity to plan such a celebration. The holiday season (whether one celebrates Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, or any other holiday) is one of joy, and is the time to celebrate life and family, and to give to charity and to the community. It is the season of hope, birth and rebirth, and of the fellowship of humankind. As the days grow dark and cold, we illuminate and warm our community and our lives by the love we share through events like this — whether they actually, in the end, occur, or not, they occur in our hearts and minds.

We look forward to the return of light, warmth and growth, both physical and spiritual, in the New Year, and we pray for peace for us, for our community, for our great Nation, and for all humanity.

Yours most sincerely,

MICHAEL BLUM

The writer is chairman of the Bel Air Christmas Celebration 2019.

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