By Haley Watson, Correspondent
The morning of Tuesday, July 4, more than 30,000 people lined the streets of Belton for the 98th annual Belton 4th of July Parade. Flags flown high along the streets as Belton locals and people from near and far gathered to celebrate Independence Day.
“My favorite part about the parade is seeing all of the people come together to celebrate.” “We’ve been coming since I was little and never missed one,” said Alicia Prado, long time attendee of the parade for 40+ years.
While for some this parade is tradition and they have been attending the Belton 4th festivities their whole lives, for others, this year’s parade was a brand new experience.
“This is my first ever Independence Day Parade. I moved here from Germany. “I really liked the parade and all the local groups in it. My favorite was the High School Marching Orchestra.” said Melina Kyriazoglou.
This year’s parade featured 245 floats, bands, marching units, decorated vehicles, horseback riders and other traveling sites celebrating their independence. The parade traveled from the corner of 10th Avenue and Main Street to the corner of Central Avenue and Birdwell Street.
Children waved and hollered, as different floats traveled along the streets in front of them. Between the fire trucks, cop cars, fast cars, old cars, music and the fairytale characters, children amongst the audience were waving their flags proudly and having a good time.
“This is our first year here. I heard this parade was the best one in the area to go to. “It was really good for the kids.” said Tommy Varebrook.
Following the parade, everyone gathered their lawn chairs and ice chests and traveled over to the Festival at Nolan Creek. People from all around venture to the festival for food, live music, water slides, petting zoos, shopping and more.
“This is our second time coming here (the festival) but we have been going to the parade for over 60 years. “The community coming together to celebrate is the best thing about it.” said Karen Connell.
This year’s festival featured the Brett Hendrix Band playing live on stage. Carnival style food such as turkey legs, funnel cakes, foot-long corndogs and more were available at different booths set up throughout the park. Children flocked to the waterslides, petting zoo and pony rides, while parents enjoyed the music and a little bit of shopping from various vendors.
“We always come down here after the parade. We like the atmosphere and my husband really likes the fair food.” said Nettie Guthrie.
Traveling around from vendor to vendor, people are set up with red, white and blue everywhere. Children play, dogs are welcome, plenty of shopping and food is available and music is live. Belton continues in their annual 4th of July celebration festivities throughout the day bringing community together and celebrating the independence of the United States.
Header photo courtesy of Christopher Winston.