My column this month is all about the parade and festival on July 4, because that’s our next big signature event in the community. The theme of this year’s parade, which will step off at 10:00am on Thursday, July 4, is “The American Dream.” Our grand marshal is County Executive Laura Neuman. The parade lines up at St. Martin’s in-the-Field Episcopal Church and Our Shepherd Lutheran Church on Benfield Road, and will culminate with a festival at Cypress Creek Park with food, activities for children and entertainment. There is an area with a petting zoo and farm animals from Kinder Farm Park, a tremendous display of vintage and show cars and trucks, and much more.
One of the unique features of our parade is the Children’s Decorated Bike Contest, which is an opportunity for little kids to enter the parade and celebrate the holiday with their festively decorated tricycles, bikes and wagons. The section of Holly Avenue from Riggs to Evergreen is closed the morning of July 4 to provide a safe area for the youngsters and their families to congregate to finish their decorating (if needed) and to be judged in categories such as most original, most beautiful and most patriotic.
Prizes are sponsored by Pedal Pushers Bike Shop, Franklin’s Toys and Annette’s Cakery. Once the parade arrives at Holly Avenue, the bikers can enter the parade as a group with the contest winners leading off. They can ride the remainder of the parade route, which is easily managed by little ones, and end up at a safe holding area especially for them behind Sunrise Assisted Living of Severna Park. It’s a treat for the residents of Sunrise to see them pedal past!
For those in the community who wish to ride the entire parade route, there is a bike brigade that forms at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church and they enter the parade as a unit.
There are many people and businesses to thank for helping put the parade and festival together. Our two primary sponsors this year are Dynasplint Systems and First National Bank, both of which are platinum level sponsors. We also thank County Councilman Dick Ladd, Continental Realty, Severn River Animal Hospital, SERVPRO and Elmore, Throop & Young for their support with the festival. The amount of time that people give to help make the day possible is so very valuable.
Our tremendous sound system at the master of ceremonies’ stand is made possible by Rod Mann, a local resident. We are indebted to several of our area churches for providing staging areas for various aspects of the parade. They include lining up at St. Martin’s and Our Shepherd, breaking down at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church and parking at St. John the Evangelist.
We thank Wayne Gerst of Gerst Towing & Auto Repair, which provides the emcee’s platform and helps gather up all of the wonderful vehicles that enter the parade and are judged at the festival. Please plan to make our parade and festival part of your Fourth of July celebration. For more information, please call Linda Zahn at 410-647-3900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.