LAUREL, Md. - The Independence Day celebrations stretched into Saturday in Laurel with a parade and a litany of events to celebrate.
The parade kicked off at 11 a.m. on Montgomery and Sixth streets. Led by the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Band, a procession including Laurel fire trucks and military veteran bikers from the American Legion Post 60 made their way east to Fourth Street before ending at Cherry Lane.
Retired Navy veteran Lenny Franchioni is a biker with Post 60, and he says he does the ride every year to support the community and his fellow servicemembers.
"After serving in the military," he says, "it's a good thing to be in the parade, and seeing everybody hooting and hollering and enjoying the festivities," Franchioni says.
He rode in the parade with his mom, Rohna Franchioni. Along with her sons Lenny and Lance, her father and husband also served in the military.
"Most times I'm in tears just thinking about it, especially just losing my father recently, so just an overwhelming feeling of pride," she says.
The Grand Marshals were Capt. Carl Dewalt, from the Laurel Police Department; Steve and Sherri Zabriskie, from the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad; and Teresa Murphy, from the Laurel Emergency Medical Services (EMS). It was also Murphy's first day as Sergeant of the EMS Division.
"I feel very good about what we do, and I feel awesome," Murphy says, in full uniform, sitting atop the back seat of the black convertible Chrysler she rode in during the parade.
Mayor Craig Moe says it took an all-volunteer effort to put on the day's events that included a classic car show and the first annual Hotdog Eating Contest.
"Laurel's always been known for its parades," Moe says. "All the parades that we do in the city have community support, community involvement, and that's what it's all about, bringing people together," Moe says.
The day is scheduled to end with a 9:30 p.m. fireworks show at Granville Gude Park.
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