Friday, July 3, 2020

The Parade

The miracle of the week, if not the whole summer, is that there will somehow be a parade for the Fourth of July. Not just any parade, but the 50th Longfellow Fourth of July Parade. This announcement from the Village of Harper’s Choice made me smile:

The Parade is on! Rain or shine...50th annual Longfellow Friends of the Traditional 4th Parade  

The 50th annual Longfellow Friends of the Traditional 4th Parade will take place on Saturday, July 4, rain or shine, at 10:00 am. Don't forget your face masks! 

Lineup begins at 9:15 in the parking lot of Longfellow Elementary School. It will travel from one end of Hesperus Drive to the other, and return to the school via Eliot's Oak Road. 

This year we will be saluting the 25 Founders of this wonderful Longfellow tradition! All are welcome to participate, or just come and watch. No advance registration!

The Longfellow Parade is steeped in good, old-fashioned Columbia history. (You can see some great photos of previous parades here.) The fact that it is going forward despite current challenges does not surprise me. From a 2017 Sun piece about the parade by Libby Solomon:

A firetruck from the Banneker fire station leads the parade, which loops around the two main Longfellow streets, beginning and ending at Longfellow Elementary School. Cub Scouts follow, then the parade's two awardees, the grand marshal and Good Neighbor. Members of the Harper's Choice village board — who one year carried a wooden board reading "Village Board," according to The Washington Post — follows close behind.

One of my favorite, albeit newer, traditions connected with the Longfellow parade is the appearance of volunteers from Food for Tomorrow. The initiative began in 2011 through the efforts of student interns in Councilwoman Mary K. Sigaty’s office. This article in Patch describes how Rodrigo Futema and Dylan Goldberg were moved to action when they learned of the community’s increasing need for services from the Howard County Food Bank.

The Food for Tomorrow volunteers are a familiar sight at local Fourth of July events. This year will be no different.

If you want to make a donation during the parade, they ask that this year you give loose change or small bills rather than food items, as it will cut down on the amount of sanitizing that will need to be done at the Howard County Food Bank. These folks think of everything.

If you want to volunteer to assist Food for Tomorrow in the parade, fill out this form to let them know.

Food for Tomorrow’s Dylan Goldberg, now a graduate of the University of Maryland, works in the Maryland General Assembly for Delegate Shane Pendergrass. He was ready to spring into action as soon as he heard that the Longfellow Parade was on. I’ve heard that Goldberg thinks of July Fourth as the best day of the year because of its significance in America’s history. The fact that he has combined that love with a way to make the lives of other people in out community a little bit better is the kind of activism that makes my heart glad.

Remember, if you go to the parade: masks, adequate physical distancing, and plenty of loose change and/or small bills if you have them. Let’s help people walk away from this parade with no other last effects than the joy of celebrating with neighbors.

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