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(Enlarge) Darlington parade

There was no denying the small town feel of Darlington’s annual Independence Day celebration Saturday afternoon and evening.

“They make it very interesting to live in a small town,” said Virginia Brooks of Darlington about the Darlington event’s planners.

The parade, which kicks off the Independence Day celebrations in Harford County, did not disappoint. Long-time attendees and first time visitors of the Darlington celebration voice appreciation of the parade.

“I would much rather come here than Bel Air or Havre de Grace, it’s much less crowded,” said Monica DeHaven of Conowingo.

DeHaven, 31, said she has been attending the parade since she was a little girl. On Saturday, DeHaven, her 11-year-old daughter, and her 58-year-old father were all watching the parade together.

DeHaven’s was not the only family that brought together three generations to enjoy festivities.

Grace Rhudy of Darlington was enjoying a shady spot at the end of the parade route on Saturday. She estimated that she has been coming to the parade for about 20 years and said that three generations of her family were attending that day.

“It’s good every year, we enjoy it, we look forward to it,” said Rhudy about the parade.

The event almost didn’t happen this year. The celebration was canceled in January because of insufficient funds, but organizers eventually raised the $6,000 needed to make it happen.

As planned, the parade ran from Castleton Road and Route 1, down tree lined Main Street and came to a triumphant end at Francis Silver Park.

Many people cited the family friendly atmosphere as their favorite part of the parade.

“The kids always enjoy seeing their friends; it’s nice to be a part of the community and enjoy it that way,” said Mandy Fabie of Dublin as her son waved to a buddy.

Christy Goldsmith of Havre de Grace was visiting friends who live along the parade route. She also appreciated the family oriented aspect of the parade.

“Everybody knows everybody,” she said.

Goldsmith’s son, 3-year-old Billy, sat next to her bobbing to the beat of drums and waving to people he knew. Her daughter was up the road with their friends.

“We brought him up here so he can get his collection of candy without fighting for it,” Christy Goldsmith explained, grinning.

Meghin Henschel, 18, sat in her driveway watching the parade go by. She said she’d been watching the parade from her own front yard every year since she was about 2-years-old.

Henschel felt the parade was about the same as it was in previous years, but not everyone agreed.

“It’s longer this year,” Rhudy observed.

Jonny Harvey of Havre de Grace was attending the Darlington’s parade for the first time on Saturday.

“It was nice, actually, not too long, not too crowded,” she said as the last few cars drove past.

Harvey, a lifelong Havre de Grace resident, usually goes to Havre de Grace’s parade.

“We’ll come again, we enjoyed it,” she said.

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