Independence Day may be two weeks away, but in half that time the first Harford County celebrations of the season will be in full swing.
As has been the community tradition for decades, Darlington will begin local celebrations the weekend prior to the July 4 weekend with a parade and fireworks event on Saturday, June 28.
Though there will be a week-long break before the next July 4th event, the Independence Day Celebration Carnival in Havre de Grace will open in Tydings Park July 1.
Bel Air and Kingsville will have parades on July 4; Havre de Grace and Edgewood-Joppatowne will have their main events on July 5.
The Independence Day parade and celebration in Darlington begins with a parade starting at 4 p.m. at the weigh station on Route 1, heading through town on Darlington Road and ending at Francis Silver Park on Shuresville Road.
In the park, entertainment and food will be on offer while those in attendance wait for dusk and the planned fireworks display. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Rain date for the fireworks is Sunday, June 29.
A full day of events is planned for July 4 in Bel Air, starting at 6:45 a.m. with one of several flag ceremonies and concluding with a fireworks display starting at dusk.
Flag ceremonies are planned as follows: Disabled American Veterans Chapter 30 and American Legion Post 39 will coordinate the presentation of colors at 6:45 a.m. at Bel Air High School; at 9 a.m. at Rockfield Park, and at the same time at the Hays House, 324 Kenmore Ave. and at Shamrock Park near Town Hall; an 11 a.m. event is planned at Bel Air Elementary School on Lee Street.
From 7 to 11 a.m. a blueberry pancake and sausage breakfast will be served at Bel Air High School. The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children under 10.
At 8:30 a.m. there is horseshoe pitching planned at Rockfield Park off Route 22 with registration at 8 a.m.
At 9 a.m. The Hays-Heigh House at Harford Community College will be the scene of music, tours and patriotic children's games.
The Turtle Derby will also be at 9 a.m. at Shamrock Park, on Lee Way, with registration is at 8:45 a.m.
The Great Bel Air Frog Jumping contest is at 10 a.m at Shamrock Park, with registration at 9:30 a.m. Other events in the park include Uncle Sam Says at 11 a.m. and a watermelon eating contest at 11:30 a.m.
At 11 a.m. bicycle registration and a cyclists rodeo will be at Bel Air Elementary School on Lee Street.
At 6 p.m. the parade begins, starting at the intersection of Gordon and North Main streets proceeding down Main to a conclusion at Idlewild Street.
The day concludes at 9:30 p.m. with fireworks launched from Rockfield Park. Spectators are asked to stay out of marked no-entry zones.
The Greater Kingsville Civic Association Inc. and the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company will sponsor the community's 34th Kingsville Independence Day Parade on July 4.
Pre-parade music and celebrations, sponsored by Reds and PNC Bank, commence at 10 a.m. at the judges viewing stand at Kingsville's crossroads triangle along Route 1. Planned entertainment includes Buttons the Clown, Baltimore City Pipe Band, the Oriole Bird, Upper Falls Dance Academy, Sounding Brass Quintet and a presentation of patriotic songs by Susie Rising and Sammy Jungwirth. The parade begins at 10:45 a.m. at the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company on Bellvue Avenue, proceeds down Bradshaw Road to Jerusalem Road and finishes at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. There is no rain date; Bradshaw and Jerusalem roads will be closed starting at 9:50 a.m.
Opening ceremonies at the judges viewing stand are at 11 a.m. led by Bruce McCubbin, master of ceremonies, with Susie Rising performing the national anthem along with John Carroll School Band led by Marc Bolden and Joppatowne High School Mariner Marching Band. The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Col. Chris Cole, joint logistics officer, Maryland Army National Guard.
Havre de Grace
The Havre de Grace parade will be July 5 at 2 p.m. on Union Avenue. There will be a concert at 7 p.m. in the Yacht Basin at Tydings Park with DJ Jeff Thompson serving as master of ceremonies. Fireworks begin at dark in Tydings Park. The concert will continue after the fireworks until 10:30 p.m. No chairs may be placed on parade route prior to 8 a.m. July 5.
The parade features more than a dozen musical units including the Havre de Grace High School Marching Band; the Ravens' Marching Band; John F. Nicoll Pipes and Drums; the Atlantic Watch Pipe Band; Harford Highlanders Pipe Band; Chesapeake Community Band; Westminster Community Band; Calvert Hall College High School Band; The American Originals; the Reilly Raiders; Archer- Epler Musketeers; the Fusion Corps; Shenandoah Sound; Carolina Gold; the Skyliners; the Sun Devils; Alliance; and Thunder Brigade D&B Corps.
Parade grand marshals are John Narvell, president, and Jim Nemeth, treasurer, of the Havre de Grace Recreation committee.
The parade also includes majorette/dance units, some numbering in excess of 100 people, as well as local dignitaries, fire companies, numerous floats, clowns, color guards, antique vehicles, youth groups, racing vehicles, custom cars and equestrian units.
Parking is on the streets of Havre de Grace. There is very limited handicapped parking in Tydings Park. There are no admission fee and all activities are handicapped accessible.
Event T-shirts are available at the Chamber of Commerce Office on Pennington Avenue in Havre de Grace and will be sold at the carnival for $8 in most sizes; $9 for extra-large and double-extra-large.
The carnival, proceeds from which help cover the cost of paying for the annual event, opens at 6 p.m. July 1 in Tydings Park. Hours are 6 to 10:30 p.m. July 1 to 4; and 4 to 10:30 p.m. July 5. Wrist bands allowing for unlimited rides cost $24 July 1 to 4 and $25 on July 5. A $4 coupon is valid only on wrist bands purchased on July 1 and 2. Ride tickets cost $1.50 each; a sheet of 30 is $35; a sheet of 50 is $55.
The Edgewood-Joppatowne Independence Day Parade will begin at 6 p.m. on July 5 along a one-mile route from Shore Drive along Joppa Farm Road to Hinton Road at the entrance to Joppatowne High School.
"We have a very diverse group of marchers music, boats, floats, politicians, churches and Army from Aberdeen Proving Ground," said parade committee member Sue Heselton.
After the parade there will be a free concert in Mariner Point Park with a local steel drum group of mostly Harford County women called "Steel Pandemic."
The concert runs from 8 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., and Heselton says "everyone should bring a chair of blanket to Pavilion Number 1, maybe a little bug spray, and enjoy the great music."
"Our them this year is Pirates of the Caribbean, which the kids are excited about, and I understand we even have two decorated boats coming that will have may mean looking Pirates aboard," Heselton said.