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Pulling up a chair for Catonsville’s Fourth of July parade

They’re baaaack!

A week before the big event, the familiar lines of chairs have started to sprout along Frederick Road in Catonsville saving spots for the annual Fourth of July Parade, set to begin at 3 p.m. on America’s Birthday.

The appearance of the chairs — large, small, painted with red, white and blue, festooned with ribbons and shiny decorations or even a mannequin — is now the stuff of local legend, said Dyann Moree, parade chair and a Realtor with Coldwell Banker.

“Each year, it becomes such a local hoot we now sell a T-shirt with chairs on it,” Moree said. “It’s a standing joke.”

The parade started in the western Baltimore suburb in 1951 after resident Marie O’Dea wanted to have a local, holiday celebration in “to keep people home and safe,” Moree said. Today, the event draws up to 10,000 spectators and a nearly two-hour line of bands, floats, trucks, motorcycles and local celebrities.

The day-long party is paid for by the community, Moree said. The total cost is $90,000 and includes a dazzling fireworks display that starts at 9 p.m. Funds are raised for the Fourth of July fun throughout the year at a March “Catonsville Prom” dance, cash collections, t-shirt sales and advertising revenues from an annual booklet.

Grand Marshalls Jim Barlow and Ed Tecco will lead the parade this year. Both are treasured local war veterans, Moree said.