Saturday, July 04, 2009

A Catonsville Fourth

The quaint little town of Catonsville, just over the river from Ellicott City, has an old-fashioned Fourth of July parade every year. What distinguishes it from other small town parades all over the country is the lengths people go to in order to secure prime seats for the show. Days ahead, people start lining the street with lawn chairs and blankets and benches. They use cord or cable or rope to secure their site and will often leave their family name taped to the lawn furniture.

This morning I rode my bike up the trolley trail to take in this display of possessive patriotism. The parade doesn't start until 3 p.m. but all these pictures were taken between ten and eleven this morning.

Folding chairs, beach chairs, camping chairs, it doesn't matter.

Some groups of chairs are more organized than others.

If you don't have enough chairs for the space you need to save, use police tape to reserve the extra space.

These were two of the nicest chairs on the route. People are mighty trusting with their stuff on the Fourth.

There is a brand new ice cream shop in Catonsville called You Scream. They marked off their section of the sidewalk for their customers. I had some delicious cherry italian ice because it looked so patriotic.

Nothing says patriotism like paying your taxes.

And some people take the color scheme to the extreme.

The Knight of Columbus want to wish you a happy Independence Day, hon.

So whatever you do today, celebrate the freedom and spirit that makes America great.


Anonymous said...

This sort of colonizing of public space drives me nuts. I guess it's maybe a little different in a small town, especially if (as you note) many people at least attach their names to the chairs so you can see them and think, oh - it's the Jamesons' chairs! or something.

We have similar issues with our Circus Parade. Frankly I think the cops should confiscate the chairs cluttering up the sidewalk as an obstruction, or as littering. A similar dynamic occurs on the lakefront for 4th of July fireworks (which, curiously, take place on the 3rd): it's one thing when people stake out family-sized lots...but there are the clowns who (as was the case across from our spot last night) stake out literal volleyball courts...which (in this case) was used maybe once or twice from 1 in the afternoon until the evening. Eventually, seeing that no one was actually using the space, people started nipping corners of it off for their own use. But such obnoxiousness: as if you can claim huge and temporarily valuable public space as your own.

Mooselet said...

To the Knights, I say "Happy 4th to you too, sweetie!"

yellojkt said...

It's a lot cheaper to do fireworks on a day other than the 4th. And I bet you get a bigger turnout than if you have to compete with larger cities.

DemetriosX said...

Actually, this reminds me a lot of Pasadena in the run up to New Year's Day. There, of course, people have to chain their chairs and lawn furniture to permanent objects and the police do confiscate the stuff prior to (I think) New Year's Eve. But people keep trying every year, starting a day or two after Christmas.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

I'm sure you've seen this too, but at our last parade, the chairs were lined up the evening before. I'm sorry, but it just ain't that important to me. Besides, I don't have that kind of time to worry about such frivolous things.

yellojkt said...

I just find it an amusing little tradition. And fairly picturesque.

Ed & Jeanne said...

You have a lot of invisible people in that town!

A Free Man said...

Hope you and yours had a great Fourth. Really like these photos, but where are all the people? Looks like a ghost town.

td said...

I think i see my in-laws' chairs. They usually put them out around June 30. Great photos.