Bel Air patriotic, fun for July 4th parade [letter]

  • Brian Krista A drum line with the C. Milton Wright Marching Bands performs during the 4th of July Parade in Bel Air on Thursday.
Brian Krista A drum line with the C. Milton Wright Marching Bands… (BRIAN KRISTA | AEGIS STAFF,…)


On behalf of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee Inc., I wish to thank the greater Bel Air and Harford County community for its response to this year's parade. The weather was just beautiful, wasn't it? A bit hot, but not too bad, with a lovely breeze! No threat of rain, and it actually got clearer and clearer as the evening went on.

After all these years, I guess I shouldn't be so surprised at the size of the crowd, but I was — it was an immense crowd, certainly much larger than last year. I want to compliment the citizens of the Town of Bel Air and of Harford County for their behavior. The entire parade showed greater Bel Air to be the patriotic, fun and accessible family-oriented community it truly is. 

Many people do not realize that the Bel Air July 4th parade, as part of the overall Independence Day celebrations in Bel Air, is funded and run by an independent not-for-profit organization, the Bel Air Independence Day Committee Inc., which has a vision of what the parade should be, and tries, to the best of its ability, to bring this vision to reality. Of course, the committee relies on the contributions of individuals, businesses and municipalities - contributions of time, effort and funds. We interact with town government and law enforcement, and with the town Department of Public Works. The committee also takes into account the needs of the town itself, and the sheer practicality and logistics inherent in mounting such an event.

For instance, in planning for 2013, we decided to shorten the parade's length by about 45 minutes, to give people more time to relocate from where they viewed the parade to where they would view the fireworks, and to make it easier for the Town of Bel Air DPW and police department to regroup and redeploy from one part of the town to the other, in daylight. It's not easy for a small town to accommodate the influx of tens of thousands (maybe more!) people, all arriving at basically the same time, looking for parking, and seating, and food, and services. Think of the stress this puts on the roads, sidewalks, parks and parking lots. That Bel Air, Maryland, pulls it off almost as a matter of course speaks volumes about the professionalism and talents of those public servants who are charged with maintaining order. Our goal was to end the parade while it was still light and bright, and we did. We hope that the extra time thus given was useful to all and helped lessen the "holiday anxiety" that we all sometimes feel.

In these challenging economic times, it is surely significant that our committee has received such support from our community for the parade, beginning with our premier sponsor, Harford Mutual Insurance Company. Other major sponsors were Jones Junction, our program sponsor; band sponsors Balsamo, Stewart, Lutters & Ruth, CPAs; Buontempo Brothers/Tower Restaurant; The Festival at Bel Air Shopping Center; HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union; Klein's ShopRite of Maryland; Plaza Ford; PNC Bank; and TD Bank.

Sponsoring organizations overall include the Bel Air Auxiliary Police Unit, the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company Inc., the Town of Bel Air and the Lions Club of Bel Air. The committee also received contributions from dozens of individuals and businesses, as listed in our program and on our web site,

I wish especially to thank the Town of Bel Air commissioners and Town Administrator Christopher Schlehr; Police Chief Leo Matrangola; Deputy Chief Rick Peschek, the entire Bel Air Police Department, and Town of Bel Air Public Works personnel, led by Chuck Tracy and Mike Cornett, for their help. Mike Krantz and Laura Stafford from the Town of Bel Air administration helped a great deal as well, especially arranging for the use of the Bel Air Reckord Armory, where Armory Manager Dave Gigliotti made some of our out-of-town bands very welcome for the night of July 4th. Band Directors Mary Lynn Twentey of C. Milton Wright High School, Richard Hauf of Havre de Grace High School, Tony Domenico of Bel Air High School, John Wojciechowski of Edgewood High School, Lewis Blandon of Joppatowne High School, Ronald Burke of Patterson Mill High School and Marc Bolden of John Carroll School also deserve high marks for turning their bands out in such great numbers and with such great spirit, in the midst of summer vacation.

To the many businesses, clubs, individuals, organizations and groups who participated in the parade - you truly exemplify what it means to be public-spirited, patriotic and community-minded. The decorated floats, cars and marching units were many and colorful; your patience and spirit of fun kept shining right until the end of the parade.

I want to also thank our elected public officials for their cooperation and spirited participation.

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