The following information was provided by the Bel Air Independence Day Committee:
After a recess for the afternoon, during which the rain finally stopped, Bel Air's traditional Independence Day Parade began at 6 p.m. July 4 at the intersection of South Main Street and Idlewild Avenue on the south side of town.
The was the first time the parade had ever started from that point, which was previously the ending point. The parade was greeted with approval by an estimated crowd of 45,000 spectators, who lined the parade route all the way to North Main Street and Gordon Street!
"I thought it was one of the largest crowds we've ever had," commented Don Stewart, president of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee.
Reviewing stand narration was provided by Don Morrison, helped by text messaging by parade marshals Brent Cozby and Alex Krowzow.
Many of the parade units were sponsored by area businesses. Banners in the parade celebrating these sponsors were carried by members of the Fountain Green Swim Club, under the direction of David Williams.
Parade sponsors included: Balsamo, Stewart, Lutters & Ruth, CPAs; Buontempo Brothers/Tower Restaurant; Festival at Bel Air Shopping Center; HAR-CO Credit Union; Jarrettsville Federal Savings & Loan; Jones Junction Auto Dealerships; Klein's ShopRite of Maryland; Plaza Ford; PNC Bank; and TD Bank.
Six independent Parade Judges viewed the parade, whose theme was "An Olde-Fashioned Fourth of July!", and awarded the following prizes:
Floats: 1st place, Society of Italian American Businessmen; 2nd place, Bel Air Lions Club; 3rd place, Military Sacrifice Float; 4th place, Harford Christian School.
Equestrian Units: 1st place, America In Miniature; 2nd place, Benchfield Farms; 3rd place, Uncle Miltie's Halflingers.
Harford County High School Trophy: C. Milton Wright Band
Guest Bands: 1st place, Fusion Core Band; 2nd place, Carolina Gold Drum and Bugle Corps; 3rd place, Skyliners Band.
Antique Vehicles: 1st place, Smith Family; 2nd place, 1962 Military Jeep - Roy Clark; 3rd place, 1914 Indian Motorcycle.
Color Guard: 1st place, 20th CBRNE Command; 2nd place, Bel Air Chapter 30 Disabled Veterans; 3rd place, Harford County Detachment 1198, Marine Corps League.
Mobile Units: 1st place, Alpha Omega 4x4 Off Road Club; 2nd place, Bel Air Corvette Club; 3rd place, Maryland State Police Alumni Association; 4th place, Edible Arrangements.
Marching Units: 1st place, Center for the Arts; 2nd place, Cub Scout Pack 807; 3rd place, Active Day.
Emergency Services: 1st place, Joppa Magnolia VFC and Cadets; 2nd place, Fawn Grove VFC.
Comic/Novelty Acts: 1st place, Buontempo Brothers; 2nd place, Ravens Nest #1 & the Hons.
Most Unique Entry: Michael Rosman's Amazing Feats of Comedy and Circus Camp Stars!
Notable Persons: Most Patriotic - Little Fire Chief - Andrew Deckard; Best Presentation - Miss MSFA Fire Prevention runner up Gabrielle Kerby; Most Popular with Crowd - Little Miss Fire Prevention Charlotte Denbow; Most Admired Entry - HCPS Teacher of the Year Mrs. Laura Potter.
Judges Awards for Special Merit: Baha'is of Bel Air; 4H of Harford - Harford Stockyards; Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company; John F. Nicoll Pipes and Drums; Reading Buccaneers Drum and Bugle Corps; Bel Air Community Band; Titans Drum Corps; 1932 Ford Dump Truck (Corbin Fuel); The Baltimore All-Stars Drum & Majorette Corps.
The parade ended at about 8 p.m., and after a recess of about 90 minutes, the 2015 fireworks were shot off from Rockfield Park. Spectators lined the streets and filled permitted areas at Rockfield Manor, John Carroll School, the Bel Air Parking Garage, and many other venues.
Before the fireworks, the crowd at Rockfield Manor was serenaded by patriotic music, thanks to a donation by Sound System Sponsor First National Bank. The fireworks show began at 9:30 and lasted 23 minutes, ending with a "Finale" that featured several new "screamer" effects and high arching pyrotechnics. The display was greeted with cheers and applause by the large crowds.
For more information, visit http://www.belairjuly4.org.