The Christmas Parade sponsored by the Calvert County Optimist and the Calvert County Fair was held on Sunday, December 3, at the Fox Run Shopping Center. As the parade lined up, children and their parents filled the sidewalks to watch the annual event that brings a start to the holidays.
The parade was led by Cory Freeman, a senior at Huntingtown High School, and Skylar Stahl, a sophomore at Patuxent High School, holding the banner. Immediately following the Calvert County Council of American Legions provided the Color Guard. Led by the County Commander Jay Bolles and long-time member the Honorable Bernie Fowler, the group consisted of members of all four of the county posts, Calvert Post 85, Huntingtown; Stallings Williams Post 206, Chesapeake Beach; Gray-Ray Post 220, Prince Frederick; and Arick L. Lore Post 274, Lusby. These men and women still serve their community, state and nation through their volunteer efforts.
Driving a 1940 Packard known as the “Rat Rod” was Johnny Brooks, the Grand Marshall. A member of the Night Thunder Cruisers of Calvert, Johnny is an A-1 mechanic. After working for car dealerships and Baltimore Gas & Electric for many years, he now has a shop in Adelina, where he was born and raised. He loves building antique cars, having built more than 30 from scratch over his lifetime. Johnny is also a people person. Throughout the year he holds car shows, with one of the largest the weekend before the 4th of July. Choosing a different charity each year, he donates the proceeds. Last year more than $8,000 was donated to the Cancer Society. Johnny also donates to Senior Day at the Calvert County Fair. Following Johnny was Stan Proctor, also a member of the Night Thunder Cruisers, driving his 1961 Corvette.
The Calvert High School Marching Band, led by Demetri Bedul, provided beautiful holiday tunes. This year the band placed 3rd in the U.S. Bands Maryland State Championships, with a score of 93.06! This is their highest score in five years.
A pair of antique tractors, reminding us of days gone by, joined the parade. Once used by Hilton Harrod to work tobacco fields, they had been parked after the tobacco buy-out many years ago. They were restored and refurbished by T.J. and Colby Ireland, with some help from their dad and grandad, Todd and Tommy Ireland. The tractors were followed by the Battle Creek 4-H Club, made up with children and teens aged 5 to 18. T.J. Ireland is the current president of this group. The group participates in a wide variety of activities including shooting sports, raising livestock and developing equestrian skills. They participate in many community service and leadership activities.
There were many custom and antique cars including: Rita & Danny Buckmaster’s 1934 Chevy Sedan Street Rod; Ansel & Dottie Marshall’s custom Hearse Pick-up; George Buck in his 1948 Desoto was hauling his great-grandchildren, Doug and Tammy Brown in their 1969 Rally Sport 454 Camara,Lawrence M. Duley, Jr., with his 1969 black and white Camaro, Gail Smith in a 1967 modified Chevy C10 Pick-up Truck, and Russel Jackson in his custom car.
Jack Burleson entered his 1965 Mustang Convertible. The car was bought in 1965 by his wife Nancy, and Jack restored it in 1998. The Quartemsters Racing Team showcased their 1961 Chevy Corvette driven by Mr. Proctor.
Wolf Pack Racing featured a 1967 Pontiac Firebird driven by Calvin Gross, a 1969 Chevy Chevelle driven by Rayfield Harcum, 1965 Malibu Chevy driven by Larry Adams, 1964 Chevy Nova driven by Troy Brown, a 1985 S10 Chevy Blazer driven by Louis James and dedicated to his niece LaTany Parker.
Ronnie Wood’s 1951 burgundy Chevy Pick-up and his first car, a 1966 marine blue Chevrolet Malibu, Henry & Lucille Haywood’s 1934 Plymouth. Keith Wood showcased his 69 metallic Laguna blue Camaro convertible, with a hound’s-tooth interior. The car was a ground-up restoration and recently won “Best in Show” at the 2017 Patuxent River Naval Air Museum’s American Muscle Car Show.
Every year the Calvert County Fair crowns a senior king and queen. The nominees are submitted from the three senior centers in Calvert County. This year the winners were Charles Hilgenberg and Phyllis Ramsey. Queen Phyllis, waving and shouting Merry Christmas, rode in a Chrysler 200 hardtop convertible, driven by Bob and Kim Warner.
Brothers Johnson, Inc. showcased many of their service vehicles followed by two groups to which Langford Johnson, his family and friends belong – Camp Buck Buck Jeeps and the Calvert County Corvette Cruisers. Camp Buck Buck Jeeps included more than fifteen jeeps that ride for the fun both on and off road. The Calvert County Corvette Cruisers, cruising on the weekend for fun, had more than ten beautifully maintained Chevrolet Corvettes.
The Calvert County Sheriff’s office, led by Sheriff Mike Evans and his family, showcased their Mobile Command Vehicle. Special thanks were extended to the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office. A challenge with the P.A. system had volunteers scrambling for a solution, but the deputies assigned to the parade stepped to the plate providing one of their cars and its system to save the day!
American Legion Post 275 Legion Riders, from Glenarden, Maryland, veterans that are motorcycle enthusiasts, have participated in the parade for many years. The Legion Riders are all members of the American Legion and are all licensed motorcycle drivers. They are well-known for their charitable work.
Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department showcased several of their vehicles. The crowd favorite was a 1955 International Pumper, one of the first fire trucks to work Prince Frederick in 1956 when the squad was known as the Calvert Volunteer Fire Department. It carries 1000 gallons of water. The vehicle was restored by members in 2016.
Calvert County’s own Elvis – “The Rockin’ Elvis” Jim Godbold rode in true style in a blue convertible with his family. Jim performs all over the county his tribute to Elvis. He is also an officiant and can perform weddings – you can have your Vegas-style wedding here in Calvert!
Many 4-H groups participated in the parade. Patuxent-Appeal Campus Blooming Clover Buds represent the youngest level of 4-H. The group is sponsored by the Judy Center Partnership at the Patuxent-Appeal campus, whose goal is to give rich and varied STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) experiences to these Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students.
The Creative Crafters 4-H Club had a float named “Candy Land,” decorated with candy, holly and a Christmas tree. The club welcomes all boys and girls ages 8-18. They meet once a month in Prince Frederick at the Community Resources Building. If you are interested in more information on 4-H Clubs in Calvert County, please call Jackie Gray at the University of Maryland Extension 4-H Office, Prince Frederick, 410-535-3662.
Candidate Craig Kontra running for Sheriff of Calvert County in 2018, and his supporters, gave out candy while singing Christmas carols. Following later was candidate Andrew Rappaport and his supporters. Rappaport is running for State’s Attorney.
Girl Scout Service Unit 11-8 had a holiday float filled with singing Scouts. The unit is part of the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital Council. They welcome new members. You can find more information at GSCNC.org.
St. Leonard Volunteer Fire Department went “in service” in Calvert County in March 1987. They proudly displayed their vehicles including Car 7, a 2012 Chevy Tahoe used for meetings and command support; Brush 7 towing Zodiac 7; Utility 7A towing Gator 7; Ambulance 77; Engine 71, a 1999 Pierce Lance Class A Pumper, Tanker 7; and Rescue Squad 7.
Prince Frederick Volunteer Rescue Squad, led by Chief Stamis Inscoe, came through with the lights and sounds of their Command 4, Ambulance 47, Ambulance 49, Special Unit 4, the Marine Support Unit and Zodiac 4. PFVRS is currently building a new home on their former site in Prince Frederick.
Calvert Library, serving the citizens of Calvert County with a bookmobile since they opened in 1959. Deliver materials and services to licensed childcare providers, the homebound, and several local agencies and organizations. Thousands of library books and more are provided year-round. The 2009 Chevy Traverse is being driven by Rachel Gordon one of your friendly Mobile Service Librarians. Check out Calvert Library on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram today to find out more. Calvert Library, inspiring possibility!
Calvert County Highway Maintenance jobs include snow removal, sign repair, potholes, line striping, removing 1045, tree removal, installing drain pipes. The most import job is to serve the citizens of Calvert County. Special thanks are extended to the men that worked the parade, providing cones and staff to make sure traffic flowed through the shopping center while the parade went on. Those working included Cornell Johnson, Robert Gray, Gene Long, Sylvester Parran, Donald Bowen, Melvin Ford and Keith Holland.
Emily Huntsberry and her friends Morgan, Caitlyn and Brooke, decorated a convertible for the parade with a little help from her dad John. The girls painted it gold, covered it with glitter, then added Christmas decorations and holly. Truly a labor of love! They distributed candy as they drove the parade route.
Commercial vehicles included Leitch Heating and Air Conditioning, a company that has provided a safe and comfortable environment for their customers since 1991 and Hitchcock Autoworks and Custom Exhaust, serving Calvert County and the surrounding area for more than five years.
Celebrating their 131st anniversary, the Calvert County Fair had a float decorated in with Christmas flair showcasing the agricultural history of the county. Riding on board were Miss Tranquility Catherine Bubser, a student at Northern High School; and Lord Calvert Robert Conner III, a student at Huntingtown High School.
The Lions Club mascot, known as “Lion,” handed out Hershey’s chocolates to the children, reminding them that the Calvert County Lions Club has been providing vision and hearing screening in Calvert County for over 75 years. Provided are pre-school vision screenings for the Head Start Program and private child care centers, CCTVs, glaucoma screenings and financial aid to those who need eye glasses and hearing aids.
Several Cub Scout Packs participated, including Cub Scout Pack 407, meeting at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; Cub Scout Pack 427, meeting at American Legion Post 274; and Cub Scout Pack 903, meeting at Huntingtown United Methodist Church. The Cub Scouts put the outing into Scouting with camping, hiking, fishing and community service projects. They also love to race their pinewood derby cars. They welcome new members!
The staff at Dr. Kishnan Orthodontics, including Dr. Rodha Krishnan and Dr. Shivani Patel, rode their float wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and handed out goodie bags with extra savings this holiday season.
The Calvert Future Farmers of America with their sponsor Chuck Gusrin sang holiday songs from their float while passing out candy. An interesting note – all of the members were females. These girls are working really hard to keep their community involved in agriculture. They are college-bound and plan to have their own farms in the future, hopefully in Calvert County.
Freedom Hill Horse Rescue rode a group of horses from their farm, located in Owings, and dedicated to saving difficult-to-adopt unwanted, older, disabled or chronically-diseased horses. These horses still have a lot of love to give and deserve to live a life with dignity and compassion. The horses, after rehabilitation and healing, often become amazing healers themselves to the people they encounter.
They were followed by the Slow Walkers Horse Back Riding Club of Calvert County, led by Ardeane Cook and the Zydeco Cowboys and Cowgirls Riding Group, led by Everard Johnson. These beautiful animals provided a lot of joy to the children and adults attending. They were also the lead-in for the man in red – or so we thought.
There was a lull as we looked down the empty street, wondering where the star of the parade might be. We heard a low rumble, and then saw a John Deere Tractor coming into site pulling the sleigh of the man of the season – Santa Claus shouting “Merry Christmas to all and to all a very Happy New Year!”
If you did not get to attend the parade, it will be shown December 24 and 25 on Comcast’s public service station Channel 6.
Please enjoy the photo gallery at the bottom.
Joyce Stinnett Baki / Calvert Beacon Reporter