2009 Was Just Splendid All Day Long!

Welcome to a complete overview of the events of July 4, 2009! 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 150 different parade entrants and determining the winners!

There's a lot of information here about 2009, 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 results and information from 2003-2008, please consult our archives.

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

The July 4th, 2009, Independence Day events in Bel Air, Maryland offered fun, patriotic splendor, and educational interest to citizens of the entire region, all during a day of sun, breezes, blue skies and happy smiles. Tens of thousands of citizens from the greater Bel Air area and across Harford County, Maryland, participated and enjoyed the traditional small-town events on Saturday, July 4th, 2009, culminating with the annual parade and a glorious fireworks display.

Events got underway at 6:45 am at Bel Air Middle School with the flag raising ceremony featuring Robert Hudson, bugler, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 30 and American Legion Bel Air Post 39.

The traditional pancake and sausage breakfast followed, in which over 2000 adults and children partook of the pancakes, blueberry pancakes, juice and sausages cooked and prepared by over 50 volunteers from the Bel Air Lions, under the direction of Harold Boccia. The new location of the Bel Air Middle School (due to impending demolition of the old Bel Air High School) was deemed a great success by all.

A full roster of daytime events followed, including the traditionally popular animal contests contests. 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 (36 contestants): 1st place: Butterscotch, owned by Megan Drumm of Forest Hill; 2nd place was Daisy, owned by Ben and Allie Grasser of Fallston; 3rd place was Speedo, owned by Stephanie Imbierowicz of Bel Air.
  • Box Turtle Races (148 box turtles entered - a new record!): 1st place: Tim, entered by Gaby, Alex and Oliver Kropff of Bel Air; 2nd place: Speedy, entered by Faith Rosenberger of Hanover, PA; 3rd place: "No Name," entered by Zack and Jake Kauffman of Fallston.
  • Non-Box Turtle Races (58 various other breeds of turtles entered): 1st place: Speedy, entered by Emily Anderson; 2nd place, Booger, enteredd by Kevin Lingelbach; 3rd place: Johnny, entered by Juliane Weincek.
  • Frog Jumping (120 total frogs entered): 1st place: Brad the Strawberry, entered by Alex and Lori White of Bel Air, with a combined three-jump total of 118 inches (short of the all-time record of 164 inches); 2nd place: Carol, entered by Jake Davenport of Bel Air, with a combined three-jump total of 102"; 3rd place: Happy, entered by Thomast Street of Fallston, with a combined three-jump total of 101".

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In events for people, the Horseshoe Pitch Men's Singles Division: 1st place: Zac Watters, Jr., of Baltimore; 2nd place: Gary Pritt of Aberdeen. Women's Singles Division: 1st place: Charlotte Onion from Stewartstown, PA; 2nd place: Terry Young of Street. Men's Doubles Division: 1st place: James Stewart and Zac Watters, Jr., of Baltimore; 2nd place: Merle Turner and Larry Vaughan of Aberdeen. Women's Doubles Division: 1st place: Vicki Smith from Darlington and Charlotte Onion from Stewartstown, PA ; 2nd place: Hazel Ellis of Bel Air and Terry Young of Street.

In the Uncle Sam Says Ages 5-7 division: 1st place: Faith Hess of Whiteford; 2nd place: Megan Dodson of Baldwin; 3rd place: Caroline Kirby of Bel Air. Ages 8-10 division: 1st place: Stephanie Imbierowicz of Bel Air; 2nd place: Erin Dodson of Baldwin; 3rd place: Gabrielle Roeder of Whiteford. Ages 11-13 division: 1st place: Erin Swann of Bel Air; 2nd place: Dan Flemming of Bel Air; 3rd place: Emma Imbierowicz of Bel Air. Ages 14-Adult division: 1st place: Bill Troutman of Mount Joy; 2nd place: Geri Bishop of Bel Air; 3rd place: Jake Isennock of Darlington.

The Bicycle Rodeo: Ages 5 and under division: 1st place: Jimmy Callard of Street; 2nd place: Daniel Roeder of Bel Air; 3rd place: Ruby Griger of Abingdon. Ages 6-8 division: 1st place: Saxton Brown of Bel Air; 2nd place: Aubrey Hoover of Bel Air; 3rd place: Cassiday Hoover of Bel Air. Ages 9-10 division: 1st place: Mason Lamb of Omaha, NE; 2nd place: Addison Smith of Bel Air; 3rd place; Jake Burrows of Bel Air. Ages 9-13 division: 1st place: Caroline Copps of Bel Air. Best Decorated Bikes division: Boys: Price Merz of Bel Air. Girls: Taylor Schindhelm.

The Watermelon Eating Contest Ages 6 and under division: 1st place: Mary Dohlenz of Bel Air; 2nd place: Logan Dillon of Forest Hill; 3rd place: Sarah Nelson of Forest Hill. Ages 7-10 division: 1st place: Connor Chenelli of Bel Air; 2nd place: Seth Bishop of Whiteford; 3rd place: Brooke Vogel of Bel Air. Ages 11-16 division: 1st place: Dan Bishop of Bel Air; 2nd place: Morgan Heil of Bel Air; 3rd place: Michael Imbierowicz of Bel Air. Ages 17-Adult Division: 1st place: Aynsley Grove of Bel Air; 2nd place: Matt Bukowski of Bel Air; 3rd place: Karen Amos of Fallston.

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After a recess for the afternoon, the traditional parade began at 6:00 pm at a new starting point — the intersection of North Main Street and Gordon Street on the north side of Bel Air. The cool breezes and the partly sunny late afternoon put everyone in a good mood, and the parade was greeted with approval by an estimated crowd of 50,000 spectators.

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 Cheerleaders and Boy Scout Troop 564, all led by Don Stewart.

Reviewing stand narration was provided by Don Morrison.

Many of the parade units were sponsored by area businesses. Banners in the parade celebrating these sponsors were carried by members of the Fountain Green Swim Club, under the direction of David Williams. Parade sponsors included:

  • Balsamo, Stewart, Lutters & Ruth, CPAs, sponsor of the Fusion Corps
  • Buontempo Brothers/Tower Restaurant, sponsor of the Patterson Mill High School Band
  • Festival at Bel Air, sponsor of the Music City Legends Band
  • HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union, sponsor of the Reading Buccaneers
  • Jones Junction Auto Dealerships, sponsor of the C. Milton Wright High School Band
  • Klein's ShopRites of Maryland, sponsor of the Alliance Drum & Bugle Corps
  • Oak Contracting, Inc., sponsor of the Edgewood High School Band
  • Parris-Castoro Eye Care Center, sponsor of the John Carroll School Band
  • Plaza Ford, sponsor of the North Harford High School Band
  • PNC Bank, sponsor of the Bel Air High School Band
  • SAIC, sponsor of the Havre de Grace High School Band

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Parade Results

5 independent Parade Judges viewed the parade, whose theme was American Patriots — Then and Now, and awarded the following prizes:

1. Floats
1st Place ($400): Oak Grove Baptist Church
2nd Place ($300): Cub Scout Troop 808
3rd Place ($200): Great Hope Bible Church
4th Place ($100): Fallston Animal Rescue
5th Place ($75): Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
6th Place ($50): Silver Eagle Cloggers
7th Place (plaque): M.I.S.S.I.O.N.S. for Christ Dance Troop
2. Equestrian Units
1st Place($100): Shining Eye Percherons
2nd Place($90): Lexie McNeil on Starlite
3rd Place($80): Uncle Miltie's Halflingers & Minis
3. Antique Vehicles
1st Place: Elmer V. and Kathleen Smith's Antique Vehicles & Tractors
2nd Place: Jerry Scarborough's Antique Police Vehicles
3rd Place: 1954 Mack Fire Engine — Russell Piper
4. Color Guards
1st Place: Harford County Detachment, Marine Corps League
2nd Place: Sheriff's Department, Harford County
3rd Place: American Legion Harford County Post #39
5. Mobile Units
1st Place: Passion for Pavement Cars and Trucks
2nd Place: North Harford High School Future Farmers of America
3rd Place: Bel Air Corvette Club
4th Place: Street Dreamin' Car Club
6. Marching Units
1st Place: Jarrettsville Spirit Cheer Travel Team
2nd Place: Marine Corps Detachment APG
3rd Place: Mason-Dixon Rescue Dogs
4th Place: Dream Nation Marching Unit
5th Place: TwirlTasTix
7. Emergency Vehicles
1st Place: Level Volunteer Fire Company
2nd Place: Susquehanna Hose Company of Havre de Grace
3rd Place: Norrisville Volunteer Fire Company
8. Comic/Novelty Acts
1st Place: City of Aberdeen / Aberdeen Recyclers
2nd Place: Uncle Sam on Stilts
3rd Place: Ravens Fan Man & Bus Boys
9. Bands, Drum & Bugle Corps, Majorette Corps
1st Place: Music City Legends Drum & Bugle Corps
2nd Place: Alliance Drum & Bugle Corps
3rd Place: Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps
Havre de Grace High School
This award comes with a $500 cash award as well.
Most Patriotic: Miss Maryland 2009: Brooke Poklemba
Best Crowd Appeal: Harford County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Kimberly Schmidt and Harford County Public Schools Nurse of the Year Debra Kauffman
Seemed Happiest to Be in the Parade: Miss Harford Outstanding Teen Summer Merson
11. UNIQUE ENTRY ("which no words can describe")
(No Award for 2009)
12. Judges Awards for Special Excellence in the 2009 Parade (in alphabetical order)
Bel Air Community Band

Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department

C. Milton Wright High School Marching Band

Charlie Company, Second, of the 24th Assault Battalion, 29th Combat Aviation Brigade, Maryland Army National Guard

Edgewood High School Marching Band

John F. Nicoll Pipe Band

Patterson Mill High School Marching Band

Shenandoah Sound Drum Corps

V Girls Unicyclists

Winners of awards in the parade are contacted by the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc., to deliver their prizes. Parade awards winners may also call Michael Blum at 410-879-4245.

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The evening ended with a grand fireworks display, sponsored by HARFORD MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, and produced by Fireworks Productions, Inc. The launch site was Rockfield park, on a height by East Churchville Road.

Sponsoring Organizations for 2009

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

Program Cover Contest Winner

The front cover illustration for the program was done by Haley Sexton of Bel Air. 2008 event photos used in the program were taken by Don Stewart.

For a PDF of the entire program, select this link. It's a big file, though — 6.1 MB (it was a big program, too!).

The 2009 Pancake Breakfast Placemat Sponsor: Harford Mutual Insurance Company

The 2009 placement was designed and produced by Michael Blum. 2008 event photos used on the placemat were taken by Don Stewart.

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Patrons and Supporters of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee for the 2009 festivities included:


  • A Better Answer
  • Balsamo, Stewart, Lutters & Ruth, CPAs
  • Buontempo Brothers / Tower Restaurant
  • Dresher Foundation, Inc.
  • E Z Store Self Storage
  • Festival at Bel Air Shopping Center
  • HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union
  • The Harford Mutual Insurance Company
  • Jones Junction
  • Klein's ShopRites of Maryland
  • Lions Club of Bel Air
  • Michael Blum Associates, Inc., d.b.a. MartinoBlum
  • Oak Contracting, Inc.
  • Parris-Castoro Eye Care Center
  • Plaza Ford
  • PNC Bank
  • SAIC
  • Town of Bel Air


  • Aimee O'Neill & Co., Inc.
  • Dean Insurance Agency, Inc.
  • Gessner, Snee, Mahoney & Lutche, P.A.
  • Smith & Kane, P.A.


  • BJ's Wholesale Club
  • Box Hill Pizzeria
  • CAPSA Inc. & Grinon Lane, Inc., Joint Venture
  • Courtland Hearth & Hardware, Inc.
  • Edgewood Corporation
  • Grove Plumbing & Heating, Inc.
  • McComas Funeral Home, P.A.
  • Slavie Federal Savings Bank
  • Suburban Propane
  • Wagner & Sons

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Roman Candles

  • Conway Management Co., Inc.
  • Dr. John O. Duguid, D.D.S., P.A.
  • Leo R. Handerhan, D.D.S.
  • Arch & Rita Handy
  • Harford Bank
  • Hall's Septic Service
  • Lin-Mar Development Corporation
  • Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered
  • Stockson Printing
  • Towne Barbers / Angelo Monico


  • Clarence Fry
  • Jane Armstrong
  • R. C. Vanden Bosche, D.D.S.
  • Stark & Keenan, P.A.
  • Steven C. Levin, D.D.S.
  • W. K. Smith & J.A. Smith, P.A.
  • William H. Cox, Jr., Real Estate, Inc.


  • American Legion Auxiliary - Harford Unit no. 39
  • American Legion Bel Air Post no. 55
  • Law Offices of Getz, Getz & Getz
  • Margaret Lesch
  • Diane & Leo Matrangola
  • Len Parrish

    Note: we "count" sponsors as having donated or pledged money or in-kind during each year-long cycle, leading up to each July 4. Therefore the above list supported the activities of July 4, 2009.

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