In western Anne Arundel County, it takes three ingredients to make a Fourth of July celebration -- Fort Meade, fireworks and music.
But since the 1st U.S. Army Band, the post band, was disbanded in 1995, no military band has provided the musical overture to the show in the sky. Organizers tried jazz bands, Top 40 bands and oldies bands, but it just wasn't the same, said Bo Flaherty, coordinator of the MeadeFest event.
"Because this is a military post, people always want military bands," he said.
389th Army Band
This year, a military band is back.
Organizers have brought in the 389th Army Band from Aberdeen Proving Ground to provide an hour's worth of military marches and flag-waving tunes before the fireworks begin at 9: 30 p.m. Saturday.
In addition, the Volunteers, a five-piece jazz, rock and pop ensemble from the U.S. Army Field Band, will perform a one-hour concert at 7 p.m.
The full Field Band, the Army's touring musical organization, will be in Michigan on Saturday to perform with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
The fireworks are the finale of MeadeFest, a three-day event wound around the post's Independence Day, which has been "a long-standing tradition in the community," said Beth Havlik, an event coordinator.
But fine music and fireworks aren't all MeadeFest has to offer.
The festival on McGlachlin Field, just off Mapes Road between Cooper and English avenues, opens at 4 p.m. today with Shaw and Sons offering $9.95 all-you-can-ride tickets for its 22 rides, roaming clowns and a disc jockey.
A puppet and magic show will be held Friday, along with an Air Force Drill Team and the Auto, Truck and Military Vehicle show.
"You always see the grandfather, the son and the grandson" at the show, said Pete Miller, president of the Blue Grey Military Vehicle Trust, a group of enthusiasts that is bringing its vehicles to the show.
"The grandfather was in the war and he's explaining things," Miller said.
"Most everybody has things on and around their vehicle to show what the era was about. There's a lot of memorabilia," Miller said.
Owners of the vehicles likely will offer history lessons on the companies that built the vehicles and the competition for the government contracts.
Events start at 8 a.m. Saturday with a five-kilometer walk/run for adults and children, who can jog alongside their parents or run their own 1.3-mile course.
A performance by the Navy drill team, two puppet shows, street clowns and a live country band will perform until 7 p.m.
Festivities end at midnight
Although the fireworks display lasts minutes, the carnival continues until midnight.
Registration for the 5K run is $15 for runners 16 and older and $10 for children ages 13 to 15. The children's course is free.
For more information on the 5K run, call Tony Figlia at 301-677-5656.
XTC To register a vehicle for the car and truck show, call 800-662-4012.
The cost is $10 per vehicle.
Pub Date: 7/02/98