This is the biggest weekend in the most All-American town in Montgomery County: Damascus. The annual Celebrate Damascus event began Friday evening, July 10, with the parade.
When I arrived in town, the parade was being lined up in the Damascus High School parking lot. Eventually, I found a great spot on the parade route on Lewis Drive. It's hard to tell in the photos and videos I took (which are now starting to appear on the Robert Dyer Channel, as well as my photos, which can both be found at www.robertdyer.net
), but you can see my favorite landmark - the Damascus water tower - and the cell phone tower in the distance from this spot.
The one bad thing was the angry bee who was either very angry at me or found me quite appealing. Whatever the case, this bee (and, of course, angry bees are rarely bees - more likely hornets, yellowjackets, or killer bees) suddenly was after me. Was this a Swarmin' Hornet?
I don't know, but I kept the camera rolling, as you will eventually see when I upload that clip.
The parade route started at the high school and followed Route 27 to Lewis Drive. It ended near the American Legion building.
I did miss getting the high school marching band, and I apologize for that. Also, I did not get the honor guard, but managed to take a picture of them walking back from the American Legion.
It would have been nice to just record the whole thing, but I like to keep the videos reasonably short, so that everyone can enjoy them. Even if they don't have a fancy, high-speed internet connection.
If you liked tractors, you were in luck. There were several John Deere and Farmall tractors of various years. Speaking of John Deere, Gladhill Bros.' John Deere dealership was represented in the parade.
If you liked fire trucks, you were also in luck. Not only did the venerable Damascus Volunteer Fire Department participate, but so did the Laytonsville VFD and Mount Airy VFD, as well.
Classic car afficionados found many vintage American cars in the parade. Of course, the Cruise-in the following morning was a highlight for them. I forget what that other muscle car was, but it was a classic and I have it in one of my videos. So you will see that, eventually. There was a Corvette Stingray, and a red 1970s Pontiac Firebird (which you can see now on my photos page).
There were all kinds of community groups, and also many local businesses (or businesses that wished to appeal to the locals). Damascus is a very religious town relative to the rest of our county. The town's churches are greatly involved in community service not only within Damascus, but across the country and around the world. In the parade, I saw Damascus United Methodist Church and St. Paul's Catholic Church, and got those on video.
One of the great moments in the parade was when veterans of World War II, Iraq, and Vietnam passed by. Noticing that I was filming, the WWII veteran gave a salute, and you will see that when I upload it.
One of the strange moments was when a child on the back of a parade vehicle threw a piece of hard candy at me. It was thrown in a manner that was apparently supposed to hurt. Well, I seem to have survived. The problem was that I was looking at the screen on the camera, and never saw it coming. Suddenly, I felt a hard projectile hit me right in the stomach, and I was trying to figure out what was going on. This kid had no idea he had hit a Montgomery County elected official, but you are going to have a chance to watch that moment yourself soon in that particular clip.
At another point, when I was trying to film a fire vehicle, a classic car turned out of the parade and slowly drove towards me. The driver evidently wanted to enter the driveway I was standing in, and couldn't wait. I managed to sidestep the car, all while keeping the camera on the fire truck.
But I didn't let these things get in the way of enjoying the parade, and I am glad I was able to capture much of it for your enjoyment, as well.
Later, the fireworks display was held near the American Legion. But I was in a good spot in the parking lot of the Weis Markets grocery store. Most people who were lining the parade route along Route 27 kept their good seats for the fireworks display. I've uploaded the first part of the fireworks display to the Robert Dyer Channel so you have a good seat, too.
You can see and hear some of the crowd on the hill in front of me. It was interesting that the Damascus VFD went out on an emergency call after the parade, and passed right in front of those of us at the Weis Markets. People were also cheering the 18-wheelers that passed by on 27, including 2 that came out of the Weis Markets. That was another bonus at that location: lots of Weis truck activity that evening. One headed north on 27, and then turned on to Main Street and back on to northbound 27. It must have been headed to either the Weis Markets in Mount Airy, or to I-70. Weis is based in Pennsylvania.
During the wait, someone set up a lemonade stand at the shopping center entrance. Later, an enterprising lightsaber salesman worked the roadside on 27. Two new owners of the Jedi weapons proceeded to have a duel while my camera was rolling. I don't even have the Lucasfilm budget.
Eventually the fireworks show ended, but the weekend was just beginning with the car show, Damascus VFD open house, Damascus UMC flea market, and much more the next day.
Stay tuned to RobertDyer.net for all of the photos and videos you could want and more from the 2009 Celebrate Damascus event!