The Independence Day events in Bel Air offered fun, patriotic splendor and educational interest to the entire region.
Tens of thousands of people from the greater Bel Air area and across Harford County participated and enjoyed the traditional small town events on Friday, culminating with the annual parade and one of the classiest fireworks displays held since the fireworks moved to their shoot-off location at Rockfield Park.
The theme for the day was "200 Star-Spangled Years," commemorating the upcoming 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and Defense of Fort McHenry, which led to the composition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
A full roster of daytime competitive events were held at various locations in the Town of Bel Air. The results of these were as follows:
First: Velma Schleicher of Bel Air; second: Diane Bish of Belcamp
First: Vicki Smith and Breanna Smith of Darlington; second: Lynn Crain of Forest Hill and Krystal Rush of Edgewood
First: Jeff Cooper of Delta, Pa.; second: Dano Molino of Perry Hall
First: Cisco J. Reyer Sr., and Johnny Sequoyall of Baltimore; second: Larry Vaughan of Aberdeen and Merle Turner of Joppa, Maryland
Box turtles, 70 participants
First: Squirt, entered by Jessica Douglas; second: Bob, entered by Jenna Van Pelt; and third: Lightning, entered by Ella and Branden Beauchamp.
Other turtles, 35 participants
First: Speed Lightning, entered by Eve Krout; second: Speedy, entered by Ella and Mason Parks; third: Speedy, entered by Maci Krout
First: Honey-Boo-Boo-Child, entered by Maggie Schepleng of Bel Air, with a 3-jump total of 102 inches; second: Hoppy, entered by Alli McDonald of Bel Air, with a 3-jump total of 100 inches; third: Jeremiah, entered by Ashlee, Alex and Meghan Stevenson and Greg Champ of Edgewood, with a 3-jump total of 99 inches
Best decorated girls: Megan Schindhelm;best decorated boys: Justin Spencer
Ages 5 and under:
First: Harry Plastid and Christie Clenon (tie); second: Berkely Bacso; third: Carson Clinton
First: Matthew Crowe; second: Trenton Wrozen; third: Olivia Krause
First: Hannah Fender; second: Jimmy Calland; third: Taylor Schindhelm
First: Mailya Wrozeh; second: Jason Haney; third: Adam Bennett
Uncle Sam Says
First: Elon Nolan from Bel Air; second: Samantha Katen from Forest Hill; third: Alice Glikin from Towson
First: Robert Kahoe from Bel Air; second: Connor Plume from Edgewood; third: Ashton Tolson from Bel Air
First: Elizabeth Sanders from Abingdon; second: Abbey Battaglia from Bel Air; third: Angela Kahoe from Bel Air
First: Jessica Douglass from Whiteford; second: Grace Chubb from Bel Air; third: Robert Comeaux from Bel Air
Watermelon eating contest
Ages 6 and under:
First: Grayson Stump from Bel Air; second: Gavin Fender from Bel Air; third: Haylie Brown from Bel Air
First: Robbie Kleist from Bel Air; second: Conor Mace from Bel Air; third: Morgan Hennigan from Bel Air
First: Carolyn Klein from Bel Air; second: Luke Dipple from Forest Hill; third: Bryce Meadows from Bel Air
First: John Katen from Forest Hill; second: Mike Hall from Bel Air; third: Bobby Weaver from Bel Air
Six independent parade Judges viewed the parade, whose theme was "Celebrating 200-Star-Spangled Years!" and awarded the following prizes:
First: Central Christian; second Place: Battle of North Point; third: In the Glow; fourth: Bel Air Lions Club
First: Uncle Milty's Halflingers; second: Verna White / America in Miniature; third: Benchfield Farms; fourth: Timmy Hurley/Lexie Palmer
Harford County high school band
The Harford County High School 2014 Bel Air July fourth Parade Trophy is awarded to the Harford County high school marching band that, in the eyes and ears of the judges, performs the best: the C. Milton Wright High School Marching Mustangs Band.
Guest bands and drum corps:
First: Fusion Core; second: Reading Buccaneers; third: Skyliners
First: Home Paramount 1939 Ford; second: Corbin Fuel; third: Maryland State Troopers Alumni Association
First: The Aberdeen Proving Ground contingent: Brig. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford, commanding general APG, and Dianne Crawford; Sgt. Maj. Kennis J. Dent, command sergeant major APG, and Gloria Dent; Col. Gregory R. McClinton, garrison commander APG, and Vicky McClinton; and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey O. Adam; Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic honor guard; second: Harford County Marine Corps League; third: Harford County Sheriff's Office
First: Center for the Arts; second: Harford Christian; third: Stonewall Day Care Center; fourth: Gina Kazimir; fifth: Alpha Omega 4x4 Off-road Club and Christian Ministry
First: Bel Air Terps Youth Football; second: Jarrettsville Young Marines; third: Applause of Bel Air
Emergency services units:
First: Joppa/Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company; second: Level Volunteer Fire Company
First: Raven "Fan Man," the "Bus Boys" and the RavHons; second: Michael Rosman's Harford Globe Trotters; third: Buontempo Brothers Pizza Slice Man and Friends
Most Patriotic: Miss Bel Air 2014 Cynthia Ford
Best presentation: 2014 Little Fire Chief Ayden Eyre
Most popular with the crowd: 2014 Miss Fire Prevention Kaelyn Suit
Most admired entry:
2014 Program Cover Contest Winner Maya Feick
(For entries of special merit)
Edgewood High School Marching Band; Nancy Jacobs Family Float; Boxwood Farms; Sun Devils Drum & Bugle Corps; Miss Black-Eyed Susan Katerina Rice; Hall's Septic Services Suck-Up Squad; and Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company Inc.
An estimated 45,000 spectators watched this year's parade along North Main Street; it lasted approximately two hours.
Reviewing stand narration was provided by Don Morrison, helped by text messaging parade marshals, led by Perry Thompson 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; First National Bank; HAR-CO Credit Union; Jones Junction Auto Dealerships; Klein's ShopRite of Maryland; Plaza Ford; PNC Bank; and TD Bank.