The Sun Shone on Us in 2005 - Hope You Were There!

Welcome to a complete overview of the events of July 4, 2005! Special thanks to Larry Leedy for collecting results of the individual day events, and to our Parade Judges (who, by their own wish, remain anonymous) for diligently sorting through over 160 different parade entrants and determining the winners!

There's a lot of information here about 2005, so here is a brief Table of Contents to help you navigate through it. Simply select the category of information you wish to see! For previous years' results and information, please consult our archives.

Divers Photographs of the Entire Day (more than just these!)

Sponsoring Organizations

Patrons and Donors

Parade Overview

Parade Unit Sponsors

Parade Results

Day Time Event Results:
  Animal Event Results
  People Event Results

Overall Summary of the Day

Flags for Kids Sponsorship

Fireworks Sponsorship

Bel Air Community Band Concert

The July 4th, 2005, Independence Day events in Bel Air, Maryland offered fun, patriotic splendor, and educational interest to citizens of the entire region, when, upwards of 85,000 citizens from the greater Bel Air area and across Harford County, Maryland, participated and enjoyed the traditional small-town events on Monday, July 4, 2005, culminating with the annual parade and a special fireworks display.

According to Don Stewart, President of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc., the independent non-profit corporation that stages the annual event, "We were truly blessed with fabulous weather from start to finish. Not a cloud in the sky; a light breeze; and a wonderful clear, cool evening made for a wonderful setting for our celebrations."

Michael Blum, Vice President of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee and Parade Chairman, agrees, saying "We were immensely pleased with the friendly and good natured response of the community, and we with to thank everyone for their high spirits and the warm welcome given to the many colorful parade units this year."

Events got underway at 6:45 am at Bel Air High School with the flag raising ceremony featuring John Parslow, bugler, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 30 and American Legion Bel Air Post 39. Aimee O'Neill led the crowd in the singing of "American the Beautiful."

The traditional pancake and sausage breakfast followed; according to Harold Boccia of the Bel Air Lions, over 1,950 adults and children partook of the pancakes, blueberry pancakes, juice and sausages cooked and prepared by over 50 volunteers from the Bel Air Lions. "I've never seen such a group of happy, hungry people," Boccia says, "At one point we thought we were going to run out of orange juice, but we squeezed it out!"

A full roster of daytime events followed, including the traditionally popular animal contests. The frog jumping contest, which established a new distance record for this event, saw a large increase in participants, possibly due to recent heavy rains, and the number of turtles also increased. The officials running the events cautioned all animal owners and handlers to treat their charges well, to keep them thoroughly watered, and urged them to return the frogs and turtles to their natural environment.

Results were:

  • Hamster Races (23 contestants): 1st place: Gwenivere, owned by Ann Brooks of Bel Air; 2nd place: Smoky, owned by Spencer Bobal of Forest Hill; 3rd place: Dusty, owned by Rachel Hresko of Bel Air.
  • Box Turtle Races (150 box turtles): 1st place: Rocket, owned by Tiffany Smith of Aberdeen; 2nd place: Spawn, owned by Lauren Hufman of Abingdon; 3rd place: Jake, owned by Amaya McNelly of Bel Air.
  • Non-Box Turtle Races (59 various turtles): 1st place: Claude, owned by Jennie Anderson of Bel Air; 2nd place: Tiny, owned by Greg Schmitz of Bel Air; 3rd place: Sammy, owned by Taylor Cole of Forest Hill.
  • Frog Jumping (204 total frogs): 1st place, Sonie, owned by Sammy and Jennifer Lynch of Bel Air, with a combined 3-jump total of 152 inches: a new record for this event! 2nd was a tie between Chocolate Lightning, owned by Kyle McCollum of Bel Air, and M-6, owned by Lauren, Paul and Beth Johnson of Forest Hill, at 122 inches. Third was Bree-Hee Hinny-Briney-Hooey-Ha (a name out of C. S. Lewis), owned by Julia Street of Bel Air, at 121 inches.

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In events for people, the Horseshoe Pitch Men's Singles Division by Zach Watters of Baltimore; 2nd was James Stewart of Baltimore. Women's Singles was won by Vicki Smith of Darlington; 2nd was Terry Young of Street. Men's Doubles was won by James Stewart and Zach Walter, Jr., of Baltimore; 2nd was Ed Boyce and Ron McFillin of Abingdon.. Women's Doubles was won by Terry Young of Street and Hazel Ellis of Bel Air; 2nd place was Vicki Smith of Darlington and Lorrie Monahan of Bel Air.

In the Uncle Sam Sayscompetition, the ages 5-7 division was won by Sam Queen of Bel Air; 2nd was Nolan Neville of Bel Air and 3rd was Carly Lyon of Street. The ages 8-10 division was won by Zachary Shelby of Bel Air; 2nd was Kelly Stifler of Forest Hill and 3rd was Andrew Mastromanolis of Bel Air. The ages 11-13 division was won by Sara Stifler of Forest Hill; 2nd was Juliana Grote of Bel Air and 3rd was Trace Fairbaugh of Bel Air. The Adult Division was won by Lynne Murphy of Bel Air; 2nd was Kris Evers of Forest Hill and 3rd was Rose Fairbaugh of Bel Air.

The Bicycle Rodeo saw Trophies for Best Decorated Bike won by Grant Astle (boys) and Laulen Fisker (girls). In the 5 and under class, 1st was Grant Astle; 2nd was Isabella Pyle-Tuele; 3rd was Joshua Strobel; in the 6-8 class, 1st was Hugh Harvin; 2nd was Elijah Polsen; 3rd was Ryan Lepp; in the 9-10 division, 1st was Zac Olsen. 2nd was Nick Rhodes; 3rd was Ryan Brooks. In the Ages 11-13 division, 1st was Josie Schimminger; 2nd was PJ McCaffery; 3rd was Blake Calligart.

The Watermelon Eating Contest in the ages 6 and under division was won by Brent Abrams; 2nd was Meredith Medvetz and 3rd was Devon Strozyk. Ages 7-10 was won by Stephen Spanellis and Jacquelyn Cruz in a tie; 2nd was Adam Isennock and 3rd was Sully Gerety. Ages 11-16 was won by Natalie Bale. 2nd was Griffin Kearney and 3rd was Sara Stifler. The Adult Division was on by Amy Chmielewski; 2nd was Brendan Beale and 3rd was a tie between Rose Fairbaugh, Brad Borkowski and Ben Carlson.

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During a recess for the afternoon, the traditional parade began at 6:00 pm at the corner of Lee Street and North Main Street in downtown Bel Air. Before the actual parade began, American Flags were handed out to all children along the parade route. The flags were generously donated by the Bel Air Branch of M & T Bank, led by Deborah Williams. Distribution of flags was handled by bank employees, bank friends and neighbors, and by members of the Bel Air Bobcats Varsity Football Team, all led by Don Stewart.

As two UH-1 "Hughie" helicopters from the United States Army National Guard, crewed by veterans of the war in Iraq, roared overhead, the parade got off right on time. Reviewing stand narration was provided by Don Morrison of the Harford County Board of Education.

Many of the parade units were sponsored by area businesses. These sponsors included:

  • Brass & Oak Galleries
  • Clifton Gunderson LLP
  • The Festival at Bel Air Shopping Center
  • Forest Hill State Bank
  • Jones Junction Auto Dealerships
  • Klein's Family Markets of Harford County
  • Parris - Castoro Eye Care Center
  • Plaza Ford and
  • Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates

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Parade Results

9 independent Parade Judges viewed the parade, whose theme was A Celebration of America's Diversity, and awarded the following prizes:

1. Floats
A. Organizational or Personal Float Entries
1st Place: $300: Harford County Supporters of Housing
2nd Place: $200: Mount Zion United Methodist Church
3rd Place: $100: Silver Eagle Cloggers
4th Place: plaque: Oak Grove Baptist Church
5th Place: plaque: Harford County Library
6th Place: plaque: Bahai's of Bel Air
B. Commercial Float Entries
1st Place: $300: Harford Hospice
2nd Place: $200: The Aegis
2. Equestrian Units
A. Organizational
1st Place: $100: Christ Episcopal Church of Rock Spring
2nd Place: $75: Ashton Rudell and Jeremy Rudell
3rd Place: $50: America in Miniature
B. Personal
1st Place: $100: Shining Eye Percherons
2nd Place: $75: Shadowbrook Farm
3rd Place: $50: Sandy Kline
3. Antique Vehicles
1st Place: Military Vehicle Preservation Association
2nd Place: 1940 Chevy - Sam Johnston
3rd Place: David Kluck: Kaiser-Frazer Owners / 1955 Willys Bermuda
4. Color Guards
1st Place: Maryland Chapter, Korean War Veterans
2nd Place: American Legion Post no. 39 Harford County
3rd Place: Vietnam Veterans of America
5. Mobile Units
1st Place: Bel Air Corvette Club
2nd Place: Nice Dreams Car Club
3rd Place: Bel Air Cultural Arts Commission / Joy of Dance Center
4th Place: Ashley's Limousine Service
5th Place: Liberty Tax Service
6. Marching Units
1st Place: Hoppin' Hawks
2nd Place: City of Aberdeen / Aberdeen Recyclers
3rd Place: Totally Twirlin'
4th Place: Applause of Bel Air
5th Place: North Bend Elementary School Fife & Drum Corps
7. Emergency Vehicles
1st Place: plaque: Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company
2nd Place: plaque: Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company
3rd Place: plaque: Fallston Volunteer Fire Company
8. Comic/Novelty Acts
1st Place: plaque: Precious the Skateboard Dog
2nd Place: plaque: Ravens Fan Bus / Ravens Next #1
9. Bands, Drum & Bugle Corps, Majorette Corps
1st Place: Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps
2nd Place: Philippine Heritage Band
3rd Place: Havre de Grace High School Band
10. Notable People / Featured Individuals of Merit and Honor
Most Patriotic: Miss Cecil County 2005 Melissa Anderson
Best Presentation: Harford County Little Miss Fire Prevention Kaitlyn Frank
Most Popular with the Crowd: Harford Public School Teacher of the Year Lori Frendak
Seemed Happiest to be in the Parade: Harford-Cecil Miss Fire Prevention Amanda Frampton
11. Absolutely Unique Entry
Girl Scouts Brownie Scout Troop 4845
12. Judges Awards for Special Merit in the 2005 Parade
Noteworthy Home School Choir
New York Skyliners
Titan Drum Corps of Bel Air
Senator Paul Sarbanes
United Parcel Service
Red Hat Society Moving On Chapter
United States Marine Corps / Inter-Coastal Trucking
Hegeman String Band
Don Morrison, Parade Narrator

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The parade was followed by a patriotic medley performed by the Bay Country Gentlemen, and an All American Band Concert by the Bel Air Community Band with soprano soloist Pam Rinehart, under the direction of C. Scott Sharnetzka. The narrator for the concert was Robert Wooters.

After the National Anthem, all those around the entire Bel Air High School complex stood and observed a minute of silence in memory of those Americans who gave their lives in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At the conclusion of the concert came the 2005 fireworks display, sponsored for the 10th consecutive year by Har-Co Maryland Federal Credit Union, and produced by Fireworks Productions, Inc. According to Bel Air Police Chief Leo Matrangola, "I estimate attendance at or around Bel Air High School for the fireworks at easily over 80,000. We had almost no problems with the crowds, who were on the whole well behaved and supportive of the event," Matrangola adds. Overall, the fireworks display was judged "very cool to watch, and a fun way to end the evening!" according to 13-year-old Laura Blum of Bel Air.

Sponsoring Organizations for 2005

The Bel Air Auxiliary Police Unit
The Bel Air Lions
The Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation
Harford County Public Schools
The Town of Bel Air

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Patrons and Supporters of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee for 2005 included:


A Better Answer
Bel Air Rotary Foundation
Box Hill Pizzeria
Brass & Oak Galleries
Clifton Gunderson, LLP
Dresher Foundation, Inc.
E-Z Storage of Bel Air
Festival at Bel Air Shopping Center
HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union
Jones Junction
Klein's Family Markets
Lions Club of Bel Air
Mercantile County Bank
Michael Blum & Associates, Inc., d.b.a. MartinoBlum
Parris-Castoro Eye Care Center
Plaza Ford
Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates
Town of Bel Air


BJ's Wholesale Club
Harford Mutual Insurance Company
Mrs. Flowers, Florist


Bel Air Road Supply
Frederick Ward Associates, Inc.
Gessner, Snee, Mahoney & Lutche, P.A.
Jarrettsville Federal Savings & Loan Association
Kefauver's Lumber & Hardware
Peppi-Meats, Inc.
Suburban Propane
Wagner and Sons


Ashbrook Insurance Services
Brown, Brown & Young, P.A.
Conway Management Co., Inc.
The Courtland Square Building at 101 S. Main Street
Dean Insurance Agency, Inc.
Grove Plumbing & Heating, Inc.
John Philip Insurance Company, Inc.
Law Office of Kevin T. Olszewski, P.A.
Leo R. Handerhan, D.D.S.
LIN-MAR Development Corporation
McComas Funeral Home, P.A.
Paidon Products Company, Inc.
Smith & Kane, P.A.
Towne Barbers, Inc.

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Roman Candles

Charles L. Lutz, Inc.
Dr. John O. Duguid, D.D.S., P.A.
Harford Bank
Higinbothom Family
O'Neill Auctioneers & Appraisers
Smith, Smith & Vafakos


Bel Air Orthodontics
Clarence and Eunice Fry
Handy Stamps for Collectors
Jane Armstrong
Schlaich, Thompson & Caruso, Chartered
Steven C. Levin, D.D.S.
Stockson Printing
R.C. Vanden Bosche, D.D.S.


American Legion - Harford Unit no. 39
Hirsch's Mens Store, Inc.
Law Offices of Getz, Getz & Getz
Margaret Lesch
Margaret S. Daniel
Noble Consulting Engineering

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