Catonsville is a census-designated place (CDP) in Baltimore County, Maryland, United States. The community lies to the west of Baltimore along the city’s border. Catonsville is the home of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), a major public research university with close to 14,000 students. Catonsville was briefly made quite famous during the 1968 protest by the “Catonsville Nine”, during which draft records were burned by Catholic anti-war activists. In 2002, the Maryland legislature issued a proclamation declaring it to be “Music City, Maryland”, because of the concentration of musical retail stores, venues and educational facilities in the area. In 2007 Money magazine ranked Catonsville the 49th best place to live in the USA, third best in Maryland and Virginia.
Since 1947, Catonsville has celebrated Independence Day with children’s games in the morning, a parade in the afternoon, and a fireworks display at night. The children’s games include a decorated bike contest, lollipop scramble, ball on spoon race, leapfrog, wheelbarrow and sack races, and a water balloon toss. The parade travels down Frederick Road and is attended by over 60,000 people each year. Residents reserve prime viewing locations by placing their folding chairs along the parade route a week or two in advance of the celebration. The parade contains floats from politicians, local businesses, schools and churches along with marching bands, including Baltimore’s Marching Ravens.