Midway between Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., lies Laurel, Maryland, a city of about 25,000 residents with Fort Meade Army base, the National Security Agency, and the physics lab of Johns Hopkins University as major points of interest nearby. Celebrating America's birthday is a big deal in Laurel.
The city's population doubles the day of the Fourth of July celebration to view the parade, car show, live music, field day competition, and fireworks.
In 2020, the Laurel Fourth of July celebration has been canceled, but organizers will be posting more details about a virtual alternative to the event website.
At 9 a.m., the parade usually begins lining up at 6th and Montgomery Streets and antique and classic cars start rolling into the parking lot behind McCullough Field. However, the parade doesn't officially begin until approximately 11 a.m. The judging stand is on 4th Street at Domer Court. You can view the parade anywhere on 4th Street between Montgomery Street and Cherry Lane.
When the parade begins, the food and craft tables will also be open, but you'll have to wait until noon for the car show to start. After the car show ends at 3 p.m., then you can head over to Granville Gude Park, where Laurel's Parks and Recreation Department will host numerous free games and activities for the family. These events kick off with the raising of the flag and the national anthem.
If you want to participate in the hot dog contest, which normally starts at 4 p.m., you can register the day of up to 30 minutes prior to the event. After 5 p.m. the musical entertainment gets going and the countdown to the nightly fireworks officially begins.
The fireworks display gets going after 9 p.m., just when things get dark. The display is held over Laurel Lake in Granville Gude park and typically lasts 35-minutes. Patriotic music is also played through the park to accompany the show.
Granville Gude Park
Granville Gude Park, a 29-acre park with a snack bar, two lakes, picnic pavilions, grills, picnic tables, horseshoe pits, tot-lot, boat dock with paddle boat rentals, 1.25 miles of hiking and biking trails, open play areas, and an outdoor stage.
With the exception of service animals, no pets are allowed in the park. Alcohol, sparklers, and fireworks are also prohibited. It is recommended that you bring picnic blankets and folding chairs. In the event of minor injuries, a first-aid station will be at the park's lake house.
More About Laurel
Founded as a mill town in the early 19th century, the arrival of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1835 expanded the local industry and later enabled the city to become a neighborhood for Washington, D.C. and Baltimore commuters.
Largely residential today, the city maintains a historic district centered on its Main Street, highlighting its industrial past. Laurel Park, a thoroughbred horse racetrack, is located just outside city limits.