By Alex DeMetrick

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Three hundred and eighty years ago today, the first English colonists arrived in Maryland, which makes today Maryland Day.

Alex DeMetrick reports it was marked by a ceremony in Annapolis, which rolled in another big date.

A spring snow gave the procession through Annapolis a muted look but it couldn’t muffle the enthusiasm of the drummers in 19th century costumes as they moved into the State House to celebrate Maryland Day.

Officially, March 25th marks the arrival of the first English settlers here in 1634. This year, 1814 is the real focus because 2014 just happens to be the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner.

“It’s a huge year. It’s a time when you can really get national attention and that’s what’s so exciting about this,” said Maryland Historical Society President Burt Kummerow.

The ceremony not only touched upon history but the business of history.

“Come on down and get your flag and your check for $125,000,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

Close to a million dollars in star-spangled grants went to organizations and counties promoting Maryland’s part in the War of 1812.

In 2012, they were investments that paid off as the start of the bicentennial drew a parade of tall ships and a parade of tourists to see them and other attractions.

“Our state welcomed over 35 million visitors from the US in 2012, which is a 30% increase over five years ago,” O’Malley said.

The bid to repeat has been going on ever since. The sewing of the Star Spangled Banner replica drew 2,000 visitors this past summer to the Maryland Historical Society. This year, the flag is traveling.

“Which would touch every tip of the state from east to west,” Kummerow said.

And if it helps the bicentennial draw visitors, it would make Maryland’s day.

Tall ships and events are planned again for this summer in Maryland, culminating in September with the bicentennial of the bombardment of Fort McHenry and the creation of the National Anthem.

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