Stars, Stripes And Smiles Abounded In The Decorated Bike Contest
By Meredith Thompson
Just after the morning clouds rolled back, yet before scorching heat settled in, scores of children adorned in their patriotic best arrived one by one for their favorite part of Severna Parks annual Fourth of July Parade: the decorated bike contest.
In the days leading up to the Independence Day celebration, boys and girls of all ages eagerly cleaned out party supply stores, stocking up on every red, white and blue decoration in sight.
Brimming with enthusiasm, children arrived just after 9:00am to register their bikes and indulge in an exciting variety of activities as suspense mounted in anticipation of naming the contest winners. Streamers, flags, pinwheels, stickers, star garland, colored hairspray and patriotic face paint abounded outside the Greater Severna Park Chamber of Commerce, where children parked their bikes to await the big announcement.
Severna Park High School rising seniors Taylor Brown and Tori Courtney volunteered their morning to assist the elated youngsters in playing ring toss, horseshoes, basketball toss, a fishing activity and other fun games. Likewise, Anne Arundel Community College education major Montieray Johnson was on hand to help children make decorative Fourth of July candles to attach to their bikes.
Hugs the Clown joined the fun, outfitted head to toe in a stars-and-stripes suit reminiscent of a mix-matched Uncle Sam. She delighted children with balloon animals made to fit their wrists and handlebars.
Bicycles were judged based on three themes most patriotic, most beautiful and most original. While many children sported stars and stripes, some deviated from the Americana theme and allowed their imagination to play the lead role in their décor. One bike featured a beach theme and another displayed enormous yellow flowers, yet 4-year-old Logan Parks tricycle soared above the rest.
With the help of his father, retired Navy Lieutenant Commander Joe Parks, Logan designed his tricked-out trike to look like one of the Navys Blue Angels. I put the number five on the plane because Logan turns five next week, the proud dad smiled, explaining the work he put into the miniature jet replica.
Named the Sound of Freedom, the navy blue and yellow masterpiece earned the Naval Academy Primary School student the first-place prize for most original bicycle. His 7-year-old sister Maddie took home the third-place prize for most beautiful.
For some blue ribbon hopefuls, the contest was a family affair. Three-year-old Lucy Zollers and her big brother, Brady, joined the parade with their decorated bikes while baby sister Macy followed closely behind in a festive red wagon. We bought all my supplies at the party store, and I decorated my bike with my dad, 6-year-old Brady beamed.
Oak Hill Elementary student Ashley Ryan was a seasoned parade participant by the time she arrived to her third decorated bike contest. This year, the smiling 7-year-old decided to mix things up a bit, and traded her bicycle for her brothers scooter. I put streamers on the handlebars and my dad helped me put flowers on, she said, gesturing to the red, white and blue blooms and garland which ensconced her scooter.
Fellow Oak Hill student Arianna Eggleston took home the second-place prize for most patriotic for the eye-catching alterations she made to her pink and white princess bike. While cheering her daughter on, her mother Parissa explained this was Ariannas first time participating in Severna Parks parade, as their family moved to the area less than a year ago.
I really love the creativity of all the kids, and all the ideas they came up with, the proud parent said. Turning her attention back to her daughter, she added, She put flags and stars on her bike, and insisted she have exactly three flags. The clown made her a balloon bunny, and she put that on the bike too.
Even children from out of town couldnt resist joining the festivities. Will and Campbell Lombardi of Chevy Chase, Maryland, spent two days decorating their bikes while visiting their grandmother in Severna Park. Will accented his cycle with a license plate which read I[heart]4JULY.
Prolific creativity and rampant enthusiasm did not leave the judges panel with an easy task of selecting the contest winners. Colette Barnes, center director at Severna Park KinderCare, helped make the challenging decision for a third year. I just love seeing how excited the kids are when they come and how proud they are of their bikes, she smiled.
Barnes was joined by veteran judge Tammi Molavi, owner of Paper Trousseau, and first-time panelist Christie Sappington, who owns Christie Sappington Designs. Its fun being a part of the parade, and seeing all the bikes the kids worked really hard on, Molavi said.
I love the small-town feel of the parade everyone pulls together as a community, Sappington added. I grew up here, so I appreciate that we have that charm.
As sweat began to bead on everyones forehead and mercury rose proportionately with anticipation, the bicyclists gathered close for the winners to finally be announced. For the categories of most beautiful, patriotic and original, prizes from Annettes Cakery, Franklin Toys and Pedal Pushers were awarded as follows:
1. Abby Popp
2. Jolie Nortman
3. Madeline Parks
1. Brayden Nowicki
2. Arianna Eggleston
3. Colette Nortman
1. Logan Parks
2. Lilian and Madeline Thompson
3. Portia Flaherty
From the staff at the Severna Park Voice, congratulations to all the winners and each and every child who participated in the decorated bicycle contest!