The parade and fireworks in Darlington were just a warm-up to the July 4th celebrations planned for this weekend and next week in and around Harford County.
Havre de Grace will kick off the weekend Sunday afternoon with a parade down Union Avenue, to be followed later that evening by a concert in the park and fireworks at dusk.
Didn't get enough parade from Havre de Grace, Edgewood and Joppatowne will hold a joint parade Sunday evening in Joppatowne.
On the real Independence Day, July 4, Kingsville will start off the morning with a parade, while Bel Air will be abuzz with activities throughout the day, beginning with the flag-raising and pancake breakfast, events in Shamrock Park and a parade and fireworks to close out the night.
Havre de Grace
The city's Independence Day festivities began earlier this week with the annual carnival, which runs through Sunday.
"It's a wonderful week in Havre de Grace with the carnival running and concert in the park," city tourism manager Brigitte Peters said. "There's something there for everyone."
The carnival at Tydings Park will run 6 to 10:30 p.m. through today (Friday), then 4 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $25 for unlimited rides and are available at local merchants, the tourism center, activity center and Frank's Pizza. Individual ride tickets are also available each night.
The parade will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday and run along Union Avenue from Warren Street to Tydings Park.
Several bands will participate in the parade, including the Havre de Grace High School band, the Ravens' Marching Band and Harford Highlanders Pipe Band.
At 7 p.m. that day, there will be a concert at the park. Entertainment will continue after the fireworks display, which will begin at dark, around 9:15 p.m.
Peters described the fireworks as "can't miss" and said they can be seen from anywhere in the park.
The Joppa community will hold an extra special celebration this year, as it's the 300th anniversary of the founding of Joppa as a seaport, noted Dianna Guthrie, chair of the Edgewood/Joppa Town Independence Day Committee.
As the communities take turns every year hosting the event, this year the parade will take place 6 p.m. July 1 in Joppatowne.
The route will begin at Joppa Farm Road at Shore Drive, make its way down Joppa Farm Road and end at Joppatowne High School.
Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane will be the grand marshal.
At 8 p.m., the Chesapeake Silver Cornet Brass Band will perform at Mariner Point Park, 100 Kearney Drive.
As always, the annual event promises fantastic floats and entertainment for the whole family.
On July 4, it's Bel Air's turn to hold Independence Day festivities, which continue throughout the day.
The parade will begin at 6 p.m., and down a slightly different route than in previous years.
It will start at the intersection of East Gordon Street and North Main Street, at the "Welcome to Bel Air" sign, then head south down Main Street all the way to Idlewild Street.
Then at 9:30 p.m., fireworks will be launched from Rockfield Park. The display can be viewed from many areas around the town.
If canceled because of inclement weather, fireworks will be launched July 5 at approximately the same time.
Mike Blum, who has run the popular parade for 20 years, hopes that citizens will find the new parade route more enjoyable and possibly more scenic and shaded with trees.
This year's theme for the event, he noted, is "Land of the Free."
"We do that so every parade is different," Blum said. He added that the theme adds an element of fun to the parade participants when they decorate their floats, choose their costumes and decorations.
The parade is completely comprised of volunteers.
"We work as hard as we can," Blum said. "We wouldn't do it if we didn't like doing it."
There will also be a full day of events in Bel Air celebrating the holiday.
At Bel Air High School, the flag-raising ceremony will be at 6:45 a.m. Disabled American Veterans Chapter 30 and American Legion Post 39 will attend. Miss Bel Air Independence Day Stephanie Meadowcroft will sing the national anthem.
Immediately following will be the blueberry pancake and sausage breakfast, 7 to 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children 10 years old and younger.
Even more family-friendly events will take place at Rockfield Park, such as horseshoe pitching with registration beginning at 8 a.m.
At Shamrock Park the Hamster Race event will start at 9 a.m., with registration beginning at 8:45 a.m. The Turtle Derby will follow at 9:30 a.m., with registration at 9 a.m. For a full list of turtle entrant rules, visit the event website, http://www.belairjuly4.org.
At 10:30 will be the Great Bel Air Frog Jumping Contest. There is a two frog limit per entrant. Uncle Sam Says will be at 11 a.m., and following is the watermelon eating contest at 11:30 a.m. Trophies will be given out to different age groups.
Docents in period costumes will give guided tours at Hays House starting at 9 a.m. The Catherine Street Consort will also play period music and country dance tunes.
In Pennsylvania Avenue parking lot, kids will have the chance to participate in the bicycle rodeo at 11 a.m. Trophies will be given to boys and girls for the best decorated bikes.
Just over the Harford County line, Kingsville will hold its 32nd Fourth of July parade on the 4th.
"We've been told it's the best [parade] around," parade chair Linda Alexander said.
The parade will start at 10:50 a.m. at the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company on Bellvue Avenue, then proceed down Bradshaw Road to Jerusalem Road and finish at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. There is no rain date.
Alexander said the event has "real community participation," including several Harford County high school bands.
Be sure to check out the pre-parade celebration, starting at 9:30 a.m. with music, then entertainment from Buttons the Clown, Baltimore City Pipe Band and Upper Falls Dance Academy.