Gabrielle Mercedes Kerby has been chosen as Miss Bel Air Independence Day 2018 by the Bel Air Independence Day Committee Inc.
Kerby will serve as hostess and participant in one of the region's largest July 4th celebrations, taking place from dawn to night on Wednesday, July 4, according to a news release from the Bel Air Independence Day Committee.
Kerby, the eighth woman to be named “Miss Bel Air,” also will help promote the annual event in the weeks leading up to it. She succeeds Natalie Brosh, who was Miss Bel Air for 2017.
The Bel Air Independence Day Committee Inc. is a non-profit all-volunteer group that produces the parade, fireworks and other events in the Town of Bel Air each July 4.
A native of Street, Kerby is a graduate of North Harford High School and Harford Community College and has been a volunteer with the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company for many years. She is a former Harford County Miss Fire Prevention and was named the Maryland State Fireman's Association Miss Fire Prevention first runner-up for 2015-16.
According to the news release, Kerby has exceptional communication skills, and has worked with infants, children and adults. She is also an accomplished singer, having performed at Ripken Stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and many other venues.
Her platform, in addition to supporting the Children's Miracle Network, is "Body Positivity — Helping People Take Pride in Themselves."
Events on Independence Day include the flag-raising at 6:45 a.m. in front of Bel Air High School, the traditional Pancake Breakfast, the various family-friendly functions during the day in Shamrock Park, Rockfield Park and Bel Air Elementary School, including the traditional competitive events, Uncle Sam Says and the watermelon-eating contest.
Miss Bel Air 2018 will lead the parade down Main Street in Bel Air at 6 p.m., and will give the signal to set off the fireworks over Rockfield Park at around 9:30 p.m., to conclude the festive day.
A “Crowning Moment,” in which the new Miss Bel Air is robed and bedecked with her official tiara, takes place early in April. Miss Bel Air appears before the Bel Air town commissioners and the Harford County Council, promoting the July 4 event.
Miss Bel Air, representing Bel Air and the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, competes for the title of Miss Maryland in late June, a part of the Miss America Pageant process. Miss Bel Air may also appear in official or charitable events through Dec. 31, including the annual Town of Bel Air Christmas Parade.
For more information about the July 4 celebration in Bel Air, including a complete schedule of specific events, visit the Bel Air Independence Committee’s web site at www.belairjuly4.org.