From Havre de Grace's Office of Marketing & Tourism:
Mardi Gras in Havre de Grace. Oh my!! What a great night. A great family friendly event. Congratulations and thank you to so many. All the great businesses and community activities that chose to be a part of this ever growing parade, you all hit this night out of the ballpark. I can not say enough for all the effort everyone put into their costumes and floats. The phone at the visitor center rang off the hook on Fat Tuesday, to get more information on the parade and continues today, too, thank us for having such a wonderful event.
I would like to say thank you to Mayor and Council for being patient with approval of this event over the years and your understanding of the impact it brings to our city. Your approval of the city services it takes, is a major component for the success we have. Our police department and DPW really came through and are amazing to work with.
Ms. Karen Green and John Narvell and all the HdG Recreation Committee activites: basketball, cheerleaders, soccer, and Drama Guild. You all are tremendous for what you provide our youth. To have the opportunity to showcase all the wonderful activities the Havre de Grace Recreation Committee offers is truly an honor. Lisa Belcher, Tom Barnes, Shannon Hitchings, thank you for always wanting to participate and for being great leaders for our youth. Jeff Thompson also rocked the house with his quick attention to the sound system and provided upbeat tunes to get the party started.
Small business has been driving this parade from the beginning. In the season of slow sales, this event brings people to Havre de Grace to rediscover our community, restaurants and shops. When a businesses contacts me to say "thank you that our sales more than tripled from previous year due to last night," it is a strong indication we are on the right track.
White Rabbet, Laurrapin Grille, Tidewater Grille, Silks at Bulle Rock, MacGregor's, Coakley's, Sweet Devotion, Pizzazz, Art Rooms and Shelby, The Art Commission ladies and gentleman, Upper Chesapeake Hospital, Spencer Silver, Maryland Conservatory, the Havre de Grace Seafood Festival, R. Maddison Mitchell with his replica of the Lantern Queen, and Jay with the Currier House way to seize the moment! Great job with the floats, the enthusiasm, and pure belief in this event.
The inclusion of the Havre de Grace swim team continues our effort to congratulate and celebrate our high school teams and their accomplishments. Pat's Pizza also contributed to the swim team with orders placed that evening. Thank you Lauri Orzewicz for encouraging them to participate. Lauri is the newest addition to our tourism team at the visitor center and her work and dedication shined through with this parade. I am so happy to have her with us, she is truly a wonderful asset to have as part of the city.
My special thanks goes to Ron Browning, a creative volunteer and driving force to continue this parade throughout the years. A great idea that brewed with Bruce Clark, Dan Tracey, at that time with the Laurrapin Grille, and Tom and Tina at the White Rabbet had some challenges that were overcome and now this parade has grown from 50 marching, a Jeep and a truck, to 20 parade entries to include 10 floats, six groups, four decorated cars/trucks. Over 2,000 people attended and more than 5,000 beads were handed out. Our office could not have achieved the success with this event without Ron Browning of the La Cle D'or. He stayed on top of every aspect of the planning and went over and beyond at getting the word out.
Last but not least I need to do a shout out for someone who is always supportive of the City and the efforts we take on through the Office of Tourism and he puts up with me. Patrick Sypolt is always behind the scenes ready to do what it takes to make things a success.
For three of the five parades Havre de Grace has been feature on the local news stations. This year, the parade was mentioned prior and after with Baltimore news affiliates, a marketing dream. We are making our mark in Maryland as that destination, Harford County. I look forward to continuing this tradition and watching it grow. Thank you to all who attended and I look forward in seeing all again next year.