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(Enlarge) Local Fourth of July celebrations will be held this weekend in Kingsville, Bel Air, Havre de Grace and Joppatowne/Edgewood. (Aegis file photo)

Streets and skies in and around Harford County will be covered in red, white and blue this weekend, where residents can enjoy four parades, fireworks and scores of other holiday events to celebrate our nation’s 234th birthday. Included in the big weekend are the four local parades in Kingsville, Joppatowne, Bel Air and Havre de Grace.

Kingsville

The big Independence Day holiday weekend gets started Saturday morning with the 30th annual Kingsville Independence Day Parade at 10:50 a.m. Saturday. The parade begins at the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company on Bellvue Avenue.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Wave Our Flag for Freedom.”

Spectators should come out in honor of “our country’s birthday and freedom,” says Linda Alexander, chairwoman for the Kingsville parade.

“It’s a good community parade,” says Linda Alexander, chairworman for the Kingsville parade said. “We have lots of music and different types of entries.”

The celebration also features a flyover from the Maryland National Guard, which Alexander describes as “an awesome sight” and “a real appreciation of our country.”

Pre-parade music and celebrations, sponsored by PNC Bank and Kingsville Market, will begin at 10 a.m. at the judges’ viewing stand.

Opening ceremonies will be held at the judges’ viewing stand at 11 a.m. Bruce McCubbin, master of ceremonies, will preside along with Lt. Col. Steve M. Harpel. The John Carroll School band, led by Daniel Briggs, will perform the national anthem.

For more information about the Kingsville parade, contact Alexander, at 410-592-7385.

Edgewood-Joppatowne

Later in the day Saturday, Edgewood and Joppatowne will host their third annual parade, which will begin at 6 p.m. This year’s parade promises to be the biggest yet, according to organizers

“It’s a local thing here for the community,” Marlon E. Gittens, Edgewood/Joppatowne parade chairman, says. “It’s something you can drive less than a mile to and see a nice performance. It’s a great time to enjoy yourself.”

The starting point for this year’s parade is Shore Drive in Joppatowne. The parade will proceed onto Joppa Farm Road and end at the corner of Joppa Farm Road and Falconer Road/ Joppatowne High School parking lot. This is the first year both Edgewood High School and Joppatowne High School bands will perform. Patterson Mill High School and Havre de Grace High School bands are also expected to perform, in addition to several bands from Baltimore County.

Edgewood community activist Mildred Samy, a.k.a. “The Lady with the Horn,” will be the parade’s grand marshal

For more information on the Edgewood/Joppatowne parade, visit www. edgewoodjoppatowneparade .org.

Bel Air

This year, there are two celebrations and parades on Sunday’s traditional July 4 holiday, in Havre de Grace and Bel Air.

Though Bel Air’s parade starts at 6 p.m. Sunday, there’s a day’s worth of things to do before the first marching groups head down Main Street, starting with the return of the annual pancake breakfast to the new Bel Air High School; last year’s breakfast was held at the middle school because the new high school was still under construction. The all-you-can-eat breakfast will be held in the new school’s cafeteria from 7 to 10 a.m., preceded by the traditional flag raising in front of the school at 6:45 a.m. The breakfast costs $5 for adults and $3 for children under 10.

Other traditional Bel Air daytime events include the hamster race at Shamrock Park at 9 a.m., horseshoe pitching at Rockfield Park at 8:45 a.m., the turtle derby at Shamrock Park at 9 a.m., the Great Bel Air Frog Jumping Contest at Shamrock Park at 10:45 a.m. and the watermelon eating contest at 11:30 a.m. at Shamrock Park. Other daytime activities include Hays House tours and children’s games beginning at 9 a.m., a Hays House patriotic concert by the Catherine Street Consort at 10 a.m, a bicycle registration and rodeo on the Pennsylvania Avenue parking lot at 11 a.m. and Uncle Sam Says at 11 a.m. at Shamrock Park. All these events are free.

This year’s Bel Air parade theme is “America the Beautiful.” The parade will start at 6 p.m. with the route beginning at East Gordon Street and North Main Street and proceeding south along Main Street to Baltimore Pike.

“We have a local parade that reflects our community and I believe it reflects it well,” says Bel Air parade chairman Mike Blum, one of scores of volunteers who have made Bel Air’s Independence Day celebration the biggest in Harford County and one of the biggest in the entire region.

Capping off a big July 4 in Bel Air will be fireworks at Rockfield Park starting about 9:30 p.m.

For more information about Bel Air’s parade, fireworks and other July 4 events, visit www.belairjuly4.org.

Havre de Grace

The Havre de Grace Independence Celebration will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday with the parade along Union Avenue and will conclude with a fireworks display going off at dark in Tydings Park.

Former city councilman and community volunteer Joe Kochenderfer will be the grand marshal of the Havre de Grace parade which is being held on July 4 for the first time since 2004. Typically the city’s celebration is held on the Saturday closest to fourth except when the fourth is on Sunday, the idea being to keep Havre de Grace’s celebration out of conflicts with others in the area, so families and marching groups don’t have to pick one parade over another.

This year’s parade is expected to attract 18 bands, including Havre de Grace High School and The Ravens’ Marching Band.

“Our fans are so animated and appreciative of the bands,” says Fourth of July Committee member Carolyn Narvell.

The Havre de Grace Independence Celebration is considered one of Harford County’s premiere parades, says longtime Fourth of July Committee member and volunteer Charlie Mike, who added that based on various records, he believes this year’s parade could be the 60th in Havre de Grace.

“It’s a beautiful parade,” he added. “It’s a Norman Rockwell parade.”

The city’s celebration is a source of pride for the community and draws spectators from all over the county, state and the country.

“I am sure if everyone in the City of Havre de Grace sits back and they reflect on that, it instills nothing but pride in their community and what it means to be a true American,” Havre de Grace Mayor Wayne Dougherty says. “When the outside folks come in, it’s a reaffirmation of the endeavors to celebrate a very important holiday.”

Sunday is also the last day for the week-long Carnival that helps pay for the parade and fireworks. Visitors can pay $25 for for unlimited rides at the carnival which will be open 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

For more information, on Havre de Grace’s Independence Day, call the Havre de Grace Office of Tourism, 410-939-2100, or the Havre de Grace Independence Celebration, 410-939-4362.


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