July 21, 2017
Community
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  • The Severna Park Fourth of July Parade is made possible by contributions from generous local businesses.
    The Severna Park Fourth of July Parade is made possible by contributions from generous local businesses.
  • Although they were never seen in the parade, a diligent group of volunteers worked behind the scenes at St. Martin’s-in-the-Field and Our Shepherd Lutheran to ensure each float and walking unit entered the parade route at the right time.
    Although they were never seen in the parade, a diligent group of volunteers worked behind the scenes at St. Martin’s-in-the-Field and Our Shepherd Lutheran to ensure each float and walking unit entered the parade route at the right time.

Severna Park’s Fourth Of July Parade Brings Community Together As One

Diane Lewis
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July 6, 2017

Severna Park’s annual Fourth of July Parade is a tremendous project that brings community leaders, businesses, and volunteers together for the benefit and enjoyment of the community. People from all over town make the parade’s myriad parts run seamlessly.

Chick-fil-A and Severn Bank were this year’s Platinum sponsors of the parade. Both businesses are relatively new to Severna Park; Chick-fil-A arrived in 2014, and Severn Bank’s branch in Severna Park just opened earlier this year. This was Severn Bank’s second year sponsoring the parade and Chick-Fil-A’s fourth. Both companies donated $5,000 each so the parade could successfully march on, rain or shine.

“The parade is all about community,” said Chris Schenck, owner of Chick-fil-A. “Severna Park does it right.” He described the parade as “Severna Park’s greatest little secret” since the parade can’t be seen from Ritchie Highway, where his store is located.

Chick-fil-A’s float featured several cows, including one that was 12 feet high, and it had four people dressed in cow suits to entertain the crowd. Eight staff members fanned out around the float to give cow headbands to members of the crowd.

Brian Harper of Severn Bank said, “The bank had a lot of clients in town before this branch even opened.” He added that he’s happy the bank can help celebrate the spirit of the community.

Christine Joyce of Champion Realty has helped the parade for the past few years. She was unable to participate in 2016, but she drove the grand marshals for three years prior. This year, for the first time, she handed out permission slips and waiver forms to parents for all children under 18 who were marching or riding floats in the parade. Joyce called the parade “a happy event that not only celebrates the holiday but the community as well.”

Pam Spearman, an independent beauty consultant, of Mary Kay Cosmetics, helps with directing people where to park. Spearman’s husband, Mark Butler, helps to line up the floats. Both these volunteer jobs can be more challenging than they sound. “Most people are in a good mood and are happy to cooperate when told where to park, but once parking becomes scarce, some people get a little upset,” Spearman said.

This is a testament to the parade’s popularity. Spearman said she and Butler have helped out for about 16 years, only missing two or three times because of vacations. Spearman observed that in the years she has been involved, people are consistent in their support of the parade, but she has started seeing more politicians come out to participate. Spearman also enjoys seeing all the kids get excited about the parade.

Kevin Trader of Chesapeake Painting Services has helped with setup for three years running. As a member of the chamber’s board of directors, he helps brainstorm and prepare for the parade in the months leading up to the big day. Trader grew up in Severna Park and has “always enjoyed watching the parade each year.”

Jim Fernen of Vertex Carpentry first started volunteering in the 2009 parade. He contacted the county to get road cones this year so that traffic and the hundreds of parade floats could be directed appropriately. He is also part of the chamber’s planning committee. He said the parade “shows a strong sense of community and that it is tightly knit.”

“It’s also fun to see how people are making their floats,” he added.


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