Roland Park neighbors trotted out their tried-and-true Fourth of July recipe Monday: Combine kids, dogs, politicians and parents with cameras. And then just add water.
For this long-established tradition, the water was provided by a pair of city Fire Department trucks, which led the crowd of several hundred friends and family members on a three-block "parade," and then turned on their hoses to create a giant sprinkler under which the children — and some adults — danced.
"It is wonderful," said Keats Smith, who watched from a safe distance as the kids got soaked. She has lived in Roland Park for 43 years. "It brings everyone together."
The parade — if the moving mass of kids and bikes, strollers and dog-walkers can be called that — began at 10 a.m. in front of the Roland Park Library with the traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence by Del. Sandy Rosenberg of Baltimore and a few words from City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke.
Martha Washington's ersatz cousin was there, too. Joy Hair, dressed in Colonial finery, was on hand to represent the Carter-Braxton chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
And master of ceremonies Doug Munro, vice president of the Roland Park Civic League, acknowledged the presence of the newest neighbors, senior citizen residents of Symphony Manor.
"This isn't a huge parade, but the kids love it," said Munro. "And it was an established tradition long before I got here."
The a cappella group Out Too Late sang the national anthem, and the parade participants, led by "grand marshal" Lily Angelone in a vehicle that was a cross between a boat and a go-cart, ambled toward the finish line, where red, white and blue popsicles waited on the steps of the Roland Park Presbyterian Church.
Carla Thomas, 11, was one of dozens of kids who collected a popsicle and then got soaked by the spray from the fire hoses. What was the best part? The popsicle or getting soaked?
"Getting soaked. For sure," she said.