The July 4th, 2013, Independence Day events in Bel Air offered fun, patriotic splendor, and educational interest to citizens of the entire region, all during a day of beautiful summer weather, sunny with light breezes and totally devoid of rain.

Tens of thousands of citizens from the greater Bel Air area and across Harford County and beyond participated and enjoyed the traditional small-town events on Thursday, July 4, culminating with the annual parade and one of the best fireworks displays since the fireworks moved to their present shoot-off location.


Events got under way at 6:45 a.m. at Bel Air High School with the flag raising ceremony, featuring Disabled American Veterans Chapter 30 and American Legion Bel Air Post 39. The national anthem was sung by Miss Bel Air Independence Day 2013 Laura Patnaude.

The traditional pancake and sausage breakfast followed, in which over 2,000 adults and children partook of the pancakes, blueberry pancakes, juice and sausages cooked and prepared by over 50 volunteers from the Bel Air Lions, under the direction of Harold Boccia. According to existing records, the number of paid customers in 2013 was the highest ever.

During the morning, the Hays House was open to visitors, and offered lawn games and guided tours of the historic facility. More than 175 visitors stopped by.

Program Cover Contest Winner

In the week leading up to July 4th, the Bel Air Independence Day Committee distributed 20,000 free programs listing all events and containing useful information about the 4th of July in Bel Air. The program's front cover illustration was chosen by a contest open to all Harford County students.

The winning design was done by Faith Moen of Bel Air, a student at Homestead-Wakefield Elementary School.

The official program was designed and produced by Michael Blum; 2012 event photos used in the program were taken by Laura Stafford of the Town of Bel Air staff. The 2013 Program was sponsored by Jones Junction.

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:

Horseshoe Pitching (Rockfield Park)

Women's Singles:

1st: Vicki Smith of Darlington

2nd: Velma Schleicher of Bel Air

Women's Doubles:

1st: Vicki Smith and Breanna Smith of Darlington


Men's Singles:

1st: Lionel Bowser of Aberdeen

2nd: Johnny Sequoyall of Baltimore

Men's Doubles:

1st: Jim Reabe of Middle River and Bunk Shipley of Arbutus

2nd: Jeff Cooper and Jeff Cooper, Jr., of Delta, PA

Turtle Derby

(Shamrock Park; held according to DNR guidelines, with a 1 turtle limit per entrant)

Box Turtles — 86 total participants

1st: Turtle entered by Jacob and Mason Smith

2nd: Bugs, entered by Erin Drumm

3rd: Michelangelo, entered by Jacob Gibson

Other Turtles — 42 total participants

1st: Turtle entered by Billie Bob Joe

2nd: Turtle entered by Eric and Owen

3rd: Turtle entered by Jenna, Bethany and Kelly

Frog Jumping Contest

(Shamrock Park; held according to DNR guidelines, with a 1 frog limit per entrant) — 178 total participants

1st: Frog entered by Claire Palmer and Gus MacKres, with a 3-jump total of 156 inches — short of the all-time record of 171 inches

2nd: Frog entered by Erin and Megan Drumm, with a 3-jump total of 135 inches

3rd: Frog entered by Sam Lynch, with a 3-jump total of 118 inches

Bicycle Rodeo

(Bel Air Elementary School parking lot)

Best Decorated — Girls: Ava Gottschalk of Abingdon

Best Decorated — Boys: Norman Jones of Delta, PA

Ages 5 and under:

1st: Zach Tamanini of Bel Air

2nd: Sarah Herron of Forest Hill

3rd: Luke Dallaire of Bel Air

Ages 6-8:

1st: Elizabeth McPherson of Abingdon

2nd: Kyle Bacso of Bel Air

3rd: Elizabeth Dallaire of Bel Air

Ages 9-10:

1st: Norman Jones of Delta, PA.

2nd: Emma Burrows of Bel Air

3rd: Daniel Rodier of Bel Air

Ages 11-13:

1st: Jake Borrows of Bel Air

2nd: Aubrey Hoover of Bel Air

3rd: Chase Donelson of Bel Air

Uncle Sam Says

(Shamrock Park)

Ages 5-7:

1st: Connor Scurti from Bel Air

2nd: Morgan Hennigan from Bel Air

3rd: Maggie Donohue from Bel Air

Ages 8-10:

1st: Ashton Tolson from Bel Air

2nd: Allison Brown from Bel Air

3rd Robert Kahoe from Bel Air

Ages 11-13:

1st: Gabrielle Roeder from Whiteford

2nd: Morgan Rhinehart from Whiteford

3rd: Jessica Douglas from Whiteford

Ages 14+:

1st: Sharon Pindell from Bel Air

2nd: Erin Swam from Bel Air

3rd: Madison Battaglia from Bel Air

Watermelon Eating Contest

(Shamrock Park)

Ages 6 and under:

1st: Brady Barbas

2nd: Graceanne Manager from Bel Air

3rd: Allison Moce from Bel Air

Ages 7-10:

1st: Zach Kerfoot from Bel Air

2nd: Faith Hess from Whiteford

3rd: Lexi Schmitt from Bel Air

Ages 11-16:

1st: Rob Elliott from Bel Air

2nd: Jason Kolbe from Bel Air

3rd: Amaris Nolan from Bel Air

Ages 17+:

1st: Brian Daniels from North East

2nd: Jeff Tolson from Bel Air

3rd: Bobby Weaver from Forest Hill

After a recess for the afternoon, the traditional parade began at 6:00 p.m at the intersection of North Main Street and Gordon Street on the north side of Bel Air. The parade was greeted with approval by an estimated crowd of 45,000 spectators.

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, sponsor of the Tampa Bay Thunder

• Buontempo Brothers/Tower Restaurant, sponsor of the Patterson Mill High School Band

• Festival at Bel Air, sponsor of the Harford Highlanders

• HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union, sponsor of the Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps

• Jones Junction Auto Dealerships, sponsor of the C. Milton Wright High School Band

• Klein's ShopRites of Maryland, sponsor of the Bel Air Community Band

• Plaza Ford, sponsor of the Havre de Grace High School Band

• PNC Bank, sponsor of the Bel Air High School Band

• TD Bank, sponsor of the John F. Nicoll Pipes and Drums

Parade Results

6 independent Parade Judges viewed the parade, whose theme was CELEBRATING AMERICA'S VOLUNTEERS!, and awarded the following prizes:


1st prize: $400: Susquehanna Beekeepers


2nd prize: $300: Cub Scout Pack 865

3rd prize: $200: Hickory Hornets

4th prize: $100: Ripken Baseball

5th prize: $75:Baha'i's of Bel Air

6th prize: $50: Bel Air Lions Club

Equestrian Units:

1st prize: $100: Lindsay Leedy - Uncle Miltie's Minis

2nd prize: $90: Verna White - America in Miniature

3rd prize: $80: Shining Eye Percherons

Antique Vehicles (plaques):

1st prize: Maryland State Police historic cars

2nd prize: Smith Family antique vehicle & tractors

3rd prize: J. Sue Henry - 1930 Model A

Color Guards (Plaques):

1st prize: Harford County Detachment, Marine Corps League

2nd prize: Harford County Sheriff's Office

Mobile Units (Plaques):

1st prize: Bel Air Corvette Club

2nd prize: program cover artist Faith Moen

3rd prize: Domino's Pizza

4th prize: Boumi Shrine Motorcycle Corps

Marching Units (Plaques):

1st prize: Alpha-Omega 4x4 Off-road & Christian Ministry

2nd prize: Bel Air Terps Football and Cheerleaders

3rd prize: Cub Scout Pack 999

Emergency Vehicles (Plaques):

1st prize: Jarrettsville VFC

2nd prize: Abingdon VFC

3rd prize: Level VFC

Comic/Novelty Acts (Plaques):

1st prize: Michael Rosman's Circus Camp Stars

2nd prize: Hall's Septic Service

3rd prize: Buontempo Brothers

Harford County High School Bel Air July 4 Parade Trophy:

Awarded for 2013 to the C. Milton Wright High School Marching Mustang Band

Bands, Drum & Bugle Corps, Majorette Corps (Plaques):

1st prize: Fusion Core

2nd prize: Shenandoah Sound

3rd prize: Carolina gold

Notable People (Plaques):

Most Patriotic: Harford County Little Miss Fire Prevention Ambassador Sabrina Wainwright

Best Presentation: Harford County Little Fire Chief Drew Cosenza

Most Popular with the Crowd: HCPS Teacher of the Year Kristin Schaub & Nurse of the Year Janet Mueller who were transported by the Bel Air Corvette Club

Seemed Happiest to be in the Parade: Miss Historic Maryland 2013 Stephanie Meadowcroft

Most Admired Entry: Miss Bel Air Maryland America 2013 "Queen for the Cure" Katie Kinslow

Absolutely Unique Entry: Kinetic Youth Academy (Receives a Plaque).

Judges Awards for Special Merit:

George Hubbard 1959 Mercedes-Benz

Havre de Grace High School Marching Band

Patterson Mill High School Marching Band

Baltimore Go-Getters

John F. Nicholl Pipe Band

Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company

Bel Air Community Band

Winners, sponsor information

Winners of awards in the parade are contacted by the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc., to deliver their prizes. Parade awards winners may also call Michael Blum at 410-893-1700.

The evening ended with a grand fireworks display launched from Rockfield Park and sponsored by Harford Mutual Insurance Company.

Sponsoring Organizations for the 2013 Independence Day Celebration and of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee were: the Bel Air Auxiliary Police Unit, the Bel Air Lions Club, the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. and the Town of Bel Air.