Making the Christmas parade come to life in Bel Air [Letter]

December 03, 2013|Letter to The Aegis


On behalf of the Town of Bel Air and the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, I would like to thank the citizens of greater Bel Air for their attendance and enthusiasm at [Sunday's] Bel Air Main Street Christmas Parade and Shamrock Park Celebration.

The weather was a bit chilly, but that didn't matter because the very large and enthusiastic crowd gave true warmth and sunny happiness to the proceedings!

I walked the route just behind the end of the parade and was particularly pleased to see so many children (and even pets!) enjoying the sights and sounds. The joy on the faces of the kids and families made me very, very happy, and I think reflected the values of our community and the love we all have for this season. Bel Air is indeed a wonderful, family-friendly place, and it's events like this that make that clearly apparent to all.

Special thanks must go to the many hard-working volunteers who put the entire celebration together, especially including Jennifer Mainster-Hanna, without whose hard work the parade could not have been anywhere near as good! Other volunteer marshals included Annette Blum, Aaron Cahall, Alex Krowzow, Patti Pearce, David Williams, Angela Robertson and a very hard-working group of wonderful students from Bel Air High School, members of the National Honor Society: Sarah Hawkins, Tess Sobka, Taylor Hensley, Tori Gryglewski, Catie Symalla, Kevin Porter and Jamie Klunk. These students showed their intelligence and leadership abilities as they did a fantastic job coping with our very chaotic and stressful staging area! It takes a lot of people to keep such a parade in order, and all these volunteers worked beautifully together.

The sponsor banners were carried by members of Cub Scout Pack 777, based at Bel Air United Methodist Church. Dina Boebel and Trish Heidenreich decorated the Reviewing Stand.

I also need to thank the hard-working members of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, led by Executive Director Scott Walker and Angela DeBrigida, who managed and prepared matters in Shamrock Park, where scads of folks enjoyed music, hot chocolate and cookies!

I also thank the Town of Bel Air administration, led by Town Administrator Chris Schlehr, for its support, and especially Director of Economic Development Trish Heidenreich, Angela Robertson and Public Relations Officer Jim Welch. Thanks also to Human Resources Director Michael Krantz, Administrative Assistant Laura Stafford, and Director of Public Works Randy Robertson and his hard-working crew, led by Mike Cornett, who seemed to be everywhere when anything was needed, with exactly the right tools.

The celebration, of course, was supported by Town of Bel Air Commissioners Robert Reier, Susan Burdette, Edward Hopkins, Robert Preston and Patrick Richards, who marched in the parade (some with their dogs!) and gave out candy canes, assisted by Dina Boebel and her family of Elves.

The entire celebration could not have been done without the unflinching support and assistance of the Town of Bel Air Police Department, especially Police Chief Leo Matrangola and Deputy Chief Rick Peschek. It was Rick who found our "missing" Oriole Bird wandering around South Main Street and directed him to me so we could get him into the parade!

Judges Angela Eaves, Beth Bowen, Yolanda Curtin, Susan Hazlett and Mimi Cooper, assisted by Trish Heidenreich, presided at the Reviewing Stand, where Tracy Hart from WAMD-AM did a wonderful job narrating the proceedings. The fabulous early entertainment was provided by the Patrick Redmond Band, whose spirited and upbeat music really made Main Street into a "Winter Carnival!"

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