It wasn't until the men in the purple fezzes zipped up Crain Highway in their three-wheel go-carts that Shawn Lachenmayer really got excited.
"Look at them, look at them," the 9-year-old boy from Severn shouted as the Boumi Temple "Camel Wheels" from Baltimore spun figure-eight patterns in the highway near its intersection with Aquahart Road.
The group was one of 68 organizations that helped Glen Burnie celebrate the Memorial Day weekend with a parade Sunday along the community's main arteries. The parade, which attracted several hundred people, began at the Harundale Mall and proceeded along Aquahart Road and Crain Highway, ending on the carnival grounds behind the Glen Burnie Improvement Association.
Until the appearance of the Boumi go-carts, Shawn had been content to bombard his mother with questions about the origin of the parade route, the pace of the parade, the nature of the antique fire trucks that filled much of it and just about everything else that came into his head.
Linda Lachenmayer, his mother, said she first took her son to a parade in a small town in West Virginia when he was 18 months old. He has been in love with them ever since.
"He just loves everything about them," she said.
The family usually gets its dose of parade this time of year by watching the Odenton Memorial Day Parade, which is held on the actual holiday -- Monday.
But this year, the family had to attend a picnic yesterday, so they chose to get their parade fix in Glen Burnie.
A few blocks north of the Lachenmayers, Jim Rogers was trying to stick a small American flag into the back of his lawn chair.
"I like the fire companies," said Rogers, 36, who was born a few blocks from the parade route and still lives in Glen Burnie. "Those guys really go all out."
Muriel Carter, president of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association, which sponsored the event, said that the parade had been a longtime tradition in the community, but suffered from lack of interest until it was revived in 1988.
Like most parades, the hourlong event featured a wide variety of antique cars, fire engines and floats.
It also included some public service messages. The crowd was urged to "Say No To Drugs" (by the Lansdowne Volunteer Fire Department), "Say yes to Jesus" (by the Severn Covenant Church) and love their country (by Ken England, an Uncle Sam look-alike who served as one of the parade's grand marshals).
"I love doing this," said England, 72, of Baltimore, who dons his red-white-and-blue outfit to lecture on Old Glory to church, school and senior citizens groups. "The kids see me, and their eyes light up."
A 20-minute drizzle brought out umbrellas and ponchos, sending some of the crowds scurrying for cover under trees and awnings from roadway shops.
But the rain passed -- and diminished neither the crowd's size, nor its spirit.
"It didn't bother me," said England. "I don't think it bothered anyone."