The parade was eventually adopted as a project by a local sorority, and participants were given a bottle of cold pop and an orange, donated by a Franklin Street resident who owned a fruit business, at the end of the parade. It has grown to include motorized vehicles carrying local dignitaries, bands, horses, and trucks and wagons full of baseball teams and church groups. There are still bikes, trikes, and pets, and we have even watched skates, gymnasts and the occasional unicycle marching/flipping/rolling down the street. The sorority still oversees the parade, which has become a homecoming for our community. Folks return to the 'burg so that their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren can experience the tradition of our little parade.
As a child, I loved the parade. I loved decorating, picking out my clothes, and getting to ride/walk/pedal proudly down the parade route. It wasn't until many, many years later that I realized that there are people who just come to watch the parade. I thought everyone was in the parade.
In this picture, I am the one in the center back, holding the dog and wearing pig tails. I'm not sure where my brother Ted was, but my brother Michael is in front of me, in the red shirt. The other kids are all from the neighborhood where I grew up. The year was 1972.
In this photo, from 1973, I am on the fender of the lawn mower, with my brothers and friends ready for a ride in the carefully decorated wagon. Don't you like my red socks? And my braids? And does anyone else think we might have been a little big for that wagon?
Fast forward 20 years, and our kids are in a wagon, ready for the parade. This wagon was pulled by Sally the pony, belonging to cousins Jessica and Caroline. Our kids are wearing hand painted shirts from a stencil I designed, cut, and painted. Such an overachiever. Ha!
Adam was too little for the wagon, so he rode in the antique buggy pushed by Nana. He has a hand painted onesie and hat. (It's in his hand in the photo.)
The shirts served us well, and we wore them again the following year as we stopped for a photo at the home of Jim's Aunt Elizabeth before the start of the parade.
Fast forward another 20 years, and you can see it's an enduring tradition for our family and our little town. That's Andrew and Darci and their kids ready to ride in the parade, 2012.
Thanks for taking a little trip down memory lane with me to recall 40 years of Fourth of July memories. I wish you all a happy and safe, fun and firecracker-filled Fourth! God Bless America!
Hoping to link up with Jessica at The Mom Creative for Throwback Thursday Stories. #TBTStories.