Greenbelt July Fourth Celebration: Long Post
On the Fourth of July, the place to be in Greenbelt is Greenbelt Lake. There residents from near and far gather for picnics and they are entertained by the Greenbelt Concert Band and the Greenbelt Drum Circle. When natural light goes out, fireworks light up the sky above the lake. This year, a special fireworks show has been planned to celebrate the city’s 75th anniversary.
Sign at the entrance to Buddy Attick Park: “Fireworks, sparklers, and alcoholic beverages prohibited per local ordinances.”
The Greenbelt Concert Band, conducted by Thomas Cherrix, performs at the Greenbelt Lake bandstand.
The Greenbelt Concert Band’s predecessor was the Greenbelt Community Band which was organized in 1940, three years after the founding of Greenbelt. Tom Cherrix is the band’s longtime conductor.
The Greenbelt Babe Ruth Baseball plays its games from May to July, and its home field is Braden Field by the tennis courts. Juniors are from age 13 t o15, and seniors from 16 to 19. Here they have several tents set up by Buddy Attick Park’s parking lot selling a variety of food and drinks as part of a fundraiser.
Betty Sonneveldt shows her son Camren Sonneveldt how to make a cherry sno cone. Sno cones are $1 each and comes in five flavors: cherry, lemon, grape, lime, and orange. Hot dogs are $2 each and nachos with chili and cheese are $4.
On the right, with his head down is Mark Markowich who is the juniors coach. Sitting behind in the tent is Bob Sonneveldt, the seniors coach. Markowich tells me that the Babe Ruth League’s regular season has just finished (they try to wrap it up by the Fourth of July) and all-star games are currently being played. Greenbelt Babe Ruth also participates in the city’s annul Fall Fest at Schrom Hills Park in October.
Eddie and Casey Gignac stands next to a banner for Giggy’s BBQ. They have hamburgers and cheeseburgers ($4 each), barbecue chicken taco ($4), barbecue chicken on a stick ($3), grilled corn on the cob ($2), and watermelon slices ($1).
Dan Gignac stands next to the smoker which was used to barbecue chicken.
Zahria (age 4) enjoys a slice of watermelon. It is a dollar a slice.
This gentleman sees me taking photos and asks me to take a photo of him. He also invites me to come and take photos of his group.
A large group has gathered at the permitted area of Buddy Attick Park. It is Bali Cultural Association for people who trace their ancestry to the Bali tribe in northwest Cameroon in Africa. For the past three years, the association has hosted a large get together in Greenbelt on the Fourth of July, and speaking here is the association’s national president Alex Ngati. He introduces Greenbelt’s Mayor Pro Tem Emmett Jordan who welcomes the group to the city.
The group has several grills in full operation.
Children play a traditional instrument from Cameroon called njang, similar to a xylophone.
Meanwhile at the bandstand, the Greenbelt Drum Circle has started playing. Here in the center is Trevor Siegel.
People of all ages join the drum circle.
Katy Gaughan facilitates today’s drum circle.
Everybody can participate and there is a lot of interaction.
Maura Murray (age 8) is dressed up in red, white, and blue and is spinning a hula hoop.
Sonya Gross spins a hula hoop.
People from the Bali Cultural Association gathering come over to join the drum circle.
They bring the njang to the center of the stage.
They form a circle, and one dancer, with a blanket over her head, dances in the middle.
It is an energetic crowd.
Doug Love and his cousin Roseerin Collins (they share a great grandmother) take in the scene. Love says that he comes for the Fourth of July fireworks every year except the first year when he thought it was at Braden Field and was surprised to see fireworks above the trees. He is wearing a button which says “Vote Bob Auerbach for Congress.” Auerbach is running as a Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representative from Maryland District 5, currently represented by Steny Hoyer.
One of numerous grills found at Buddy Attick Park on this Fourth of July
Melissa Mortimer (left) tends her grill.
In the background, she has some salmon cut up, marinated, and ready to go on the grill.
A family waits for the fireworks.
The Robinson family
A roving vendor has flags and glowing toys for sale.
The Graham family
On the right Leroy Bowen tells me that he was a Greenbelt pioneer child and moved with his family to the newly founded city when he was three and a half years old. He says that during those early days not a lot of things went on on the Fourth of July because “nobody had money.” He recalls boating, ice skating, and fishing here at Greenbelt Lake. In 1945, his father moved to Washington, D.C. to be close to his job and he went into service and now lives in Beltsville. Sitting next to him is Bessie Carpenter.
A group of friends
The Jones family. Both of the girls are swimmers and gymnasts.
Fred Gasper and his daughter Naomi
This year to celebrate the city’s 75th anniversary, the city has contracted Starfire Corporation to provide a special fireworks show choreographed to music. The company built three pontoons in the lake from which to launch the fireworks, and two of them are visible in this photo.
All three pontoons firing at the same time
Getting some ice cream after the fireworks
The drum circle keeps playing.
Happy 75 Greenbelt