City, academy celebrate with lights tonight Parade to help mark their anniversaries

September 22, 1995|By Ellen Gamerman | Ellen Gamerman,SUN STAFF

The Naval Academy and the city of Annapolis are marking their anniversaries -- 150 years for the academy and 300 years for the state capital -- by illuminating the streets tonight with hundreds of lights.

The academy and city will hold a "grand illumination," a traditional celebration of Colonial Annapolis, at 8 p.m. at City Dock.

Also tonight, the city will celebrate the academy's first home football game with a pep rally at 7:30 p.m. at City Dock. The 1995 home season is set to kick off Saturday, when Navy plays Wake Forest University.

The public is invited to participate in both events.

The parade of lights will begin at City Dock and wend up Main Street, around State Circle and down Maryland Avenue to the academy. Light sticks will be supplied to the walkers, and luminarias will illuminate the parade route and the buildings that line it.

Grand illuminations began in Annapolis as early as 1752, but in the decades thereafter others were held to mark state holidays, anniversaries and war victories.

The last known grand illumination was held in the city in 1894 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the state capital. Hundreds of townspeople lighted their homes and public buildings with candles in each window.

That illumination was well-timed, since a power failure that day had plunged the city into darkness. Residents relied on the lights in the State House and other buildings to illuminate streets.

To open tonight's event, at 7 o'clock, the academy will have an organ recital at its chapel, and Gov. Parris N. Glendening will greet the public at Government House.

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