Parading through History

By Rebecca Crago | Posted on 07.26.13 – History, Look Back


Many high schools throughout the country practice a “Safe and Sane” graduation party to keep freshly minted graduates from harm in a controlled, supervised setting. However, Safe and Sane practices began much earlier in America at the turn of the 20th century in an effort to prevent injuries from the Fourth of July fireworks celebrations.

This photograph from 1912 shows the march from a pageant at the Maryland School for the Deaf on South Market Street to the Frederick County Courthouse for a celebration of the country’s birth in a patriotic gathering of county citizens. Leading the procession was the Yellow Springs Band, and noted Frederick composer, one-time mayor and professor George Edward Smith led the musical performances. The celebration was made possible through the efforts of the Women’s Section of the Council of National Defense and by the Safe and Sane Committee of the Civic Club.

Historically, Frederick’s Fourth of July celebrations have varied from grand parades put together by several fire companies to concerts held in the Baker Park Bandshell.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Independence Day in Frederick without the Barbara Fritchie Classic motorcycle race held at the Frederick Fairgrounds. This year, the race is celebrating its 91st anniversary, making it the longest running half-mile race in the country.