Catonsville Celebrations History

Catonsville Sign

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:

Tom Connor

Anne Kramer

Maureen Sweeney Smith


General Chairman from 1947 to present:
Year Name
1947 John H. Moss
1948 Eugene Carozza
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
1992  Gene Fedeli
1993 – 1994  George Abendschoen
1995  Ed Cogswell
1996  Greg Morgan
1997 Steve Head
1998  Greg Morgan
1999  Mrs. Mary Sites
2000  Steve Head
2001 – 2006  Craig Sigismondi
2007 – 2009  DyAnn Moreé
2010 – 2011  Rose Edwards
2012 – 2013  Ed Cogswell
2014 – 2016 George Deale
2017 – 2018 Brian Lewis

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