The July 4th celebration in Catonsville was originally started in 1947. Marie O’Dea, then editor of the community newspaper, organized the event as a way to provide a “safe and sane” holiday for Catonsville residents. It was founded on the belief that deaths and injuries on the highways could be reduced if the community could stay home and take part in a full day of activities.
We went through a few of the program books and came up with a few highlights of past parades and fireworks.
1955 — It was the ninth year for the celebration and the committee had grown to 13 members. That year the committee raised $1,000 to cover expenses. It was a sweltering hot day and record crowds attended. The fireworks were held at the Junior High School (now the Bloomsbury Community Center) and the headline in the Herald Argus read “Catonsville Jammed By The July 4th Fireworks.” There were so many cars bringing people to the fireworks display, the vehicles had to be turned away because there was no parking. A new attraction, a carnival with Ferris wheel and roller coasters, was well received by the children. Committee members believed 20,000 attended the parade and 50,000 attended the fireworks.
1979 — The Committee fell on hard financial times and it was thought that the event for the following year would have to be scratched.
1980 — It was the 34th year for the celebration and the committee had approximately 30 members. The celebration had a price tag of $5,000. The committee held a number of fundraisers and through generous donations made $8,000 that year. A spectator estimated the crowd at the parade to be 20,000.
2002 — It was the 56th year of celebration but the country was still reeling from the events of 9/11/01. The 2002 theme was “Catonsville Salutes Hometown Heroes.” That year, representatives from each branch of the U.S. military and members of the Baltimore County Police and Fire Departments served as Grand Marshals. Residents were reminded that true heroes are not elusive sports or entertainment figures, but are the men and women in our midst enabling us to live our lives safely. The budget that year was $60,000 and the committee was comprised of approximately 40 members.
Researched and Written by:
Maureen Sweeney Smith
|1947||John H. Moss|
|1949||Victor T. Schotta|
|1950||Albert R. Simpson|
|1951||Franklin M. Padgett|
|1952||Paul H. Kreh|
|1953||Franklin M. Padgett|
|1954||William T. Coleman|
|1955 – 1956||Louis W. Doyle|
|1957 – 1959||Paul H. Kren|
|1960 – 1961||G. Howard Medicus Jr.|
|1962 – 1963||Thomas G. Connor|
|1964 – 1965||Edward M. Hammond|
|1966 – 1967||Richard D. Payne|
|1968 – 1969||Leon J. Derrickson|
|1970 – 1971||Edward H. Middleton|
|1972||Mrs. L. May Carbaugh|
|1973 – 1975||Kenneth A. Kiesel|
|1976 – 1977||Thomas D. Troy|
|1978 – 1979||William H. Giroux|
|1980 – 1981||Harry C. Moses|
|1982 – 1983||Joseph L. Minnich, III|
|1984 – 1985||Glyndon L. Bailey|
|1986 – 1987||Thomas J. O’Connell|
|1988 – 1989||George Abendschoen|
|1990 – 1991||Richard Walsh|
|1993 – 1994||George Abendschoen|
|1999||Mrs. Mary Sites|
|2001 – 2006||Craig Sigismondi|
|2007 – 2009||DyAnn Moreé|
|2010 – 2011||Rose Edwards|
|2012 – 2013||Ed Cogswell|
|2014 – 2016||George Deale|
|2017 – 2018||Brian Lewis|