Independence Day festivities in Harford County start Saturday

Coming up July 4, the Bel Air parade is one of the biggest in the state and one of five Independence Day celebrations coming to the Harford County area between Saturday and Wednesday.
Coming up July 4, the Bel Air parade is one of the biggest in the state and one of five Independence Day celebrations coming to the Harford County area between Saturday and Wednesday. (Aegis file/BSMG)

A five-day stretch of Independence Day celebrations in Harford County and its neighboring communities begins Saturday.

There will be parades and other activities in Darlington, Havre de Grace, Bel Air, Kingsville and Joppatowne, plus fireworks in Darlington, Havre de Grace and Bel Air to celebrate the United States’ 242nd birthday.


The first community celebration will be the annual Darlington Independence Day Celebration on Saturday evening. That celebration, put on by the Darlington Lions Club, is typically the first of Harford County’s slate of Independence Day festivities.

The parade through downtown Darlington begins at 5:30 p.m. Participants will follow the route along Main Street to Shuresville Road, according to the Lions Club website.


Visitors can enjoy food and entertainment at Francis Silver Park, off Shuresville Road, after the parade. Fireworks can be seen from the park starting at 9:15 p.m., according to the website.

Havre de Grace

The Havre de Grace Independence Day festivities are Sunday, starting with the traditional downtown parade at 2 p.m. The parade route starts at Union Avenue and Warren Street, runs along Union and ends along Commerce Street near Tydings Park.

Parade watchers should not set out any items, such as blankets or lawn chairs, along the parade route before 8 a.m. The Havre de Grace Police Department will confiscate anything set out before that time.

The city’s Independence Day Commission coordinates all events, including the parade, concerts, fireworks and a carnival scheduled for Sept. 12-15, according to the commission’s website, http://www.havredegracejuly4.org.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Havre de Grace Honors America’s Volunteers.”

The grand marshal will be Don Osman, a retired Harford County Public Schools teacher who spent the majority of his 40-year career at Havre de Grace High School — he taught at Roye-Williams Elementary School and Havre de Grace Middle School before coming to HHS.

Osman founded the student community service group SMILES, or Service Makes an Individual’s Life Extra Special, while at the high school, worked with the community to raise money to build HHS’ James R. Harris Stadium and he coordinates the annual Havre de Grace community Thanksgiving dinner.

“There are just hundreds and hundreds, probably thousands of volunteers in Havre de Grace... the town runs on volunteers,” Osman said when he was recognized during the June 18 City Council meeting.

A downtown block party will happen after the parade from 4 to 8 p.m. at North Washington and St. John streets. It will overlap with a free Battle of the Bands concert in Concord Point Park from 5 to 9 p.m., plus an Amish Outlaws concert from 7 to 10 p.m. at Hutchins Park.

Tickets for Amish Outlaws are $10 and can be purchased at the gate or online at Eventbrite.

The fireworks show begins at 9:30 p.m. They will be shot from a barge in the Susquehanna River just south of the Concord Point Lighthouse.

Visitors can check out a concert featuring patriotic music at Concord Point Park while watching the fireworks. That concert lasts from 9 to 10 p.m.


The southern end of Harford County will also celebrate Independence Day on Sunday evening with the 11th annual Edgewood/Joppatowne Independence Day Parade, followed by a concert in Mariner Point Park.

The Edgewood/Joppatowne Independence Day Committee puts on the events.

The parade begins at 6 p.m., with the route starting at Shore Drive in Joppatowne, then to Joppa Farm Road, Hinton Road and ending at Joppatowne High School. The theme is “Mariners on Parade.”

The concert in the park begins at 8 p.m. in the Mariner Point Park Pavilion at 100 Kearney Drive. Robin and The Rhythmix, which covers hits from the 1950s to the present day, will perform.

Visit www.edgewoodjoppatowneparade.org for more information.


The 38th annual Kingsville Independence Day Parade will be on Wednesday, July 4, the nation’s 242nd birthday.

The festivities start at 10 a.m. with family entertainment and music at the Bradshaw and Jerusalem Road intersection. Both roads will be closed at 9:50 a.m., according to the event website.

The parade starts at 10:50 a.m. at the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company, then heads along Bradshaw Road to Jerusalem Road and ends at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, according to the site.

The opening ceremonies begin at 11 a.m. at the judges’ reviewing stand, with the singing of the national anthem by Christina Massimei accompanied by the Havre de Grace High School band. There will be a Maryland Air National Guard flyover if weather permits.

The parade theme is "Being Grateful for Our Nation is Cause for Celebration!" which was created by Kingsville Elementary School student Turner Hodges.

Logan Kurek, a member of the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company, will be the grand marshal. Kurek, a Perry Hall resident, tried to save Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio — a Harford County resident — by performing CPR after she was struck by a vehicle while trying to stop the driver from leaving the scene of a suspected burglary in Kurek’s neighborhood. Caprio died of her injures May 21.

Visit www.kingsvilleparade.org or check the Kingsville, Maryland Independence Day Parade page on Facebook for more information, including weather updates. There will be no rain date.

Bel Air

The Bel Air festivities begin early with a 6:45 a.m. flag-raising ceremony at Bel Air High School and do not end until nighttime with a fireworks show starting around 9:30 p.m.

In between, visitors can take part in a slew of family-friendly events around town or watch the annual evening parade through downtown.

Information about all events is online at http://www.belairjuly4.org.

The first flag-raising ceremony is at 6:45 a.m. at the high school, with subsequent ceremonies at 7:45 a.m. in Rockfield Park, 8:45 a.m. in Shamrock Park and 11 a.m. at Bel Air Elementary School.

The traditional pancake and sausage breakfast runs from 7 to 11 a.m. at Bel Air High School — access is through the school’s side entrance along Baltimore Pike. The cost is $8 for adults and $5 for children younger than 10 years old.

Registration for the horseshoe pitching at Rockfield Park begins at 8 a.m. and the contest starts at 8:30 a.m.

Visitors can also head to Shamrock Park for a morning full of activities, including the 9 a.m. water balloon toss, 10 a.m. costume contest, 11 a.m. Uncle Sam Says competition and 11:30 a.m. watermelon-eating contest.


The bicycle rodeo and registration event is at 11 a.m. in the Lee Street parking lot of Bel Air Elementary.


Tours of the Hays House Museum at 324 Kenmore Ave., near the high school, are available from 9 a.m. to noon. Visitors can meet docents in period costume and hear period music performed by the Catherine Street Consort.

The parade, with the theme “A Salute to American Heroes!” begins at 6 p.m. The route starts at Idlewild Road and South Main Street and proceeds north along Main to the intersection with East Gordon Street.

Gabrielle Kerby, Miss Bel Air Independence Day 2018, will lead the parade.

Check the Bel Air Independence Day Committee Inc. page on Facebook or listen to radio stations WXCY-FM 103.7 and WAMD-AM 970 for announcements about the status of the parade in case of inclement weather. There will not be a rain date.

The fireworks, which are being launched from Rockfield Park, start around 9:30 p.m. See the website for information on permitted viewing areas. The rain date for fireworks will be 9:30 p.m. Thursday.