This Crowd Knows How To Enjoy Their Parade
By Ellen Kinsella
The spirited Severna Park community loves their July Fourth Parade! Despite lingering power outages from a recent storm and temperatures hotter than a firecracker, the loyal spectators turned out in droves to show their patriotism and community spirit at the 2012 Fourth of July Parade.
Beginning around 6:00am, lawn chairs and blankets began popping up like mushrooms after a rain along Benfield Boulevard and Evergreen Road. Eager fans hoping to get a birds-eye view of the festivities erected tents and laid out blankets in anticipation.
Soon enough, crowds of people showed up bedecked in red, white and blue. Although reasons for attending varied, those present shared a sense of patriotism, family togetherness and community spirit that translated into upbeat enthusiasm, setting the tone for another successful parade.
The heat did not put off first-time parade goers like Emily Metzler. I love it - we are starting a tradition, said the Pasadena resident, who had adorable 1-year-old daughter Ava Sophia in tow.
Robert Van Horn was also a first-timer. Having moved from Fort Meade last year, he was impressed by the varied participants and floats. Accompanied by son Robert Jr., 5, his wife Elizabeth, and daughters Kathryn, 11, and Lindsey, 13, Van Horn explained, This is a great way for our community to celebrate our freedom.
The Baptistes of Millersville were also enjoying their first experience with the parade. Having moved less than a year ago from Boston, Burt and his wife, Danielle, brought their girls Emme and Milla to watch the excitement. Grandparents Carol and Jack Akerman, who came up to visit from Florida by boat, were also in attendance. This parade is great, commented Burt. Its impressive for a town this size!
Across the street, the Prugh familys Great Dane, Fred, was attracting almost as much attention as Poe, the Ravens mascot. The family has attended the parade for three years, and recently moved to Severna Park from Pasadena. Its all about celebrating our freedom, explained Chris Prugh.
Veteran parade-goers faithfully lined the streets alongside the newbies. Bill and Sue Brown have lived in Severna Park since 1973 and have attended the parade every year. Bill loves the custom. The community passes on the tradition of patriotism to the kids, he said.
In front of Severna Forest, Pat and Marian Brophy and family watched the parade from the same spot they sit every year. Pat reminisced about what Severna Park was like 40 years ago when they first moved in, recalling dirt shoulders on Benfield and no sidewalks. When they moved in these trees were saplings, son-in-law Scott Carey joked.
John and Lucia Robinson, decked out in brightly colored matching flag shirts, have lived in West Severna Park for over 40 years. We were in the first parade in 1975 with the Hammond S. Carr & Associates Realtors, explained John.
Many young people along the parade route were taking advantage of the heat by selling cold refreshments. In the true spirit of the holiday, some saw an opportunity to give back.
Twins Ellie and Abby Lawrence, 8, Emma Lawrence, 4, and Elizabeth Morris sold cold lemonade with the intention of donating the profits to the Light House Shelter. We raised $33.50, Ellie said proudly. Were going to take the money to the grocery store, buy food, make lunch, and give it all to the Light House Shelter - and were going to do this every year.
Similarly, young Erin Schaner had a snowball table conveniently set up in front of her house along the parade route on Benfield so she could multitask while watching the colorful floats go by. Explaining her business, Erin said she just likes to make snowballs. And its fun to raise money for things that are important, like the SPCA, she said.
A little further up the street, Abby Dean, along with siblings James and Mary, had a lemonade stand set up for thirsty crowd members. They also sold handmade bracelets. With help from Eleanor Nold and Aric, Joseph and Hannah Vale, Abby was doing a brisk business.
We are all splitting the profits after we donate some of the money to Giving Eyes for the Blind, Abby explained. Its important to give back to the community because on the Fourth of July we recognize the service people who give to us so we can have our freedom.
Every year our community comes together from far and wide to enjoy the bikes, floats, vintage cars and people that comprise the beloved parade. But without the cheering crowd, celebrating our freedom wouldnt be nearly as much fun. As 40-year Severna Park resident Maynard Huddleston pointed out, This parade is America. Its spirited and it moves you, and it makes you thankful to live in a free country!