Aberdeen starting to plan for its 125th anniversary celebration in 2017

The City of Aberdeen isn't celebrating its 125th anniversary until 2017, but that doesn't mean city officials haven't started planning, and a handful of parades are expected to be the highlights of the year.

"We're getting into it, getting some different ideas," Aberdeen Mayor Mike Bennett, who also helped plan the city's 100th anniversary celebration, said.

The year Aberdeen turns 125, neighboring Aberdeen Proving Ground will be celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Bennett says it's likely some of their celebrations will overlap.

"They'll plan theirs, we'll plan ours, then we'll coordinate and do some things together," he said.

Initially, the mayor said, Aberdeen and APG officials talked about a joint celebration, but since then both have begun planning their own festivities.

As for Aberdeen Proving Ground, planning for its 100th anniversary has just begun.

"We are working with the community and have just begun planning. Nothing in stone yet," Kelly Luster, a post spokesperson, said Wednesday.

The city will have at least three parades in 2017. The annual Christmas Street parade and celebration in December will likely be the culminating event of the year-long festivities.

"I'm sure that will end the year out in a nostalgic way. I'm sure it will be an old-fashioned Christmas," Bennett said.

The Cal Ripken World Series Parade, featuring players from all the teams in the week-long tournament, will be back in Aberdeen as part of the celebration.

The parade, which Aberdeen couldn't accommodate this year when the Ripken World Series was moved to mid-July instead of early August, will return next summer, a year before the 125th celebration.

A third parade will be more specific for the 125th anniversary, "probably in late spring, we'll see how that goes," the mayor said.

"We want to be able to get as much participation as we can," Bennett said. "In the summer, it's hard to get high school bands because they're all on vacation, it's virtually impossible to get them out."

A 125th birthday is something special, he noted.

"I think it's just a really neat time to celebrate where the city's come from and things that are going on," Bennett said.

It will be the second 125th anniversary in just a few years in Aberdeen – the Aberdeen Fire Department, the oldest in Harford County, celebrated its 125th last year.

"That's how it was. It was the first thing organized, then the church and schools and then it goes from there," Bennett, who is a longtime member of the volunteer fire department, said. "They led the charge [with their anniversary] and we'll follow up."

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