Havre de Grace council approves Independence Day events for 2018

This year’s Havre de Grace Independence Day events are set for Sunday, July 1, and will include the annual parade down Union Avenue, a downtown block party, concerts in two city parks and a fireworks show.

A fall fundraising carnival has also been set for Sept. 12-15 in the swale of Tydings Park. The Havre de Grace City Council gave its unanimous approval Tuesday for all events, which are being coordinated by the city’s Independence Day Commission.

The theme of this year’s events will be celebrating local volunteers, Christy Silverstein, the commission chair, told the mayor and council members.

“For us, what drives Havre de Grace is our volunteers,” Silverstein said, citing the many volunteers who work in the community and on municipal boards and commissions.

That includes the 75 volunteers who have put in more than 1,000 hours to help the Independence Day Commission put on its events, according to Silverstein.

She said the commission will contact other community organizations for nominations on who should be the parade grand marshal. Noble Mentzer, a Korean War veteran and prolific volunteer, was the grand marshal last year when the theme was honoring “hometown heroes,” or the veterans and active-duty military who live in Havre de Grace.

The commission is seeking nominees for this year who are “ the flagship steward, basically, for volunteerism,” Silverstein said.

The parade starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 1, and it will follow the traditional route from Warren Street and Union Avenue, heading down Union and ending at Tydings Park. The parade should last until around 4:30 p.m., said commission member Taryn Martin, who is the wife of Mayor Willian T. Martin.

Taryn Martin said the commission is committed to inviting high school marching bands and professional marching bands, plus she encouraged volunteer groups to participate.

“We’re looking for a lot of really great volunteer groups with some great floats,” Martin said.

There will be a downtown block party at Washington and St. John Streets immediately after the parade, from 4 to 8 p.m., commission member Steve Gamatoria Jr. said. The party will include live music, sidewalk sales in front of downtown businesses, outdoor service from downtown restaurants, along with street vendors and family activities.

The party area is along Washington between St. John Street and Congress Avenue, according to a map presented by the commission.

A free concert will be in Concord Point Park around the same time, from 5 to 9 p.m. It will be a “battle of the bands” featuring several local groups, Silverstein said.

A DJ will play patriotic music between 9 and 10 p.m. to accompany the fireworks. Food vendors will be available, but there will not be alcohol sales, Silverstein said.

The Amish Outlaws, who had been a big hit last year for their first Independence Day concert in Havre de Grace, will return to Hutchins Park July 1. They will play from 7 to 10 p.m., and tickets are $10 per person, Martin said.

Tickets will go on sale May 1 online via Eventbrite, and they will be available at the gate. Proceeds will benefit the Independence Day Commission.

Concertgoers can purchase food and drinks from the Havre de Grace American Legion, and there will be activities for children, Martin said.

The fireworks, which should be visible all along the Havre de Grace waterfront, are scheduled to go off around 9:30 p.m., Silverstein said. They will be shot from a barge in the Susquehanna River east of Concord Point Park and south of the Concord Point Lighthouse.

“We’re hoping that you’ll have plenty of opportunities throughout the day to come to parade, go to the downtown block party, we’ve got a couple different concerts . . . you can picnic with your family and then see the fireworks,” Silverstein said.

The fall carnival, designed as a fundraiser for next year’s festivities, runs from Wednesday, Sept. 12 to Saturday, Sept. 15 in the swale of Tydings Park, Gamatoria said.

Houghton Enterprises, of Cochranville, Pa., which put on the 2017 carnival in October, will return to operate this year’s carnival, Gamatoria said.

There will be rides for all ages and food vendors. People can purchase wristbands to ride all rides for $20 in advance or $25 at the gate.

“We did well in October — we think we’ll do even better in September,” Silverstein said, citing the weather.

The council approved one application for the July 1 Independence Day events, which have a combined estimated police cost of $10,000 and $12,470 for the Department of Public Works, Shyla Scott, executive assistant to the mayor, said.

The council approved a second application for the fall carnival — the estimated police cost is $9,944 and $645 for the DPW, Scott said.

“It sounds like a great time,” Mayor Martin said of the events. “It sounds like it’s been tweaked a little bit for the better, and we’re looking forward to it.”

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