The sun shined brightly, the wind blew lightly and hundreds of people lined Main Street to begin their day with a Fourth of July parade.
“I just got a cup of coffee and wanted to come check out the parade,” said Lewis Lomax, 35, of Garden City, who learned about the parade on Facebook. “I really like the hometown feeling of it. It’s very community engaging. I think it’s quintessential Fourth of July.”
The parade began with four police officers on bicycles, followed by two officers on motorcycles.
“It’s a beautiful day and my second cousin is here visiting from Wichita and we wanted to bring him to the parade,” said June Lafollette, of Garden City, who attended the parade with her 53-year-old special-needs cousin, Loren Webgell. “He’s dressed to the 'T' today, nothing but red, white and blue.”
Webgell said his favorite part of the parade was seeing all the flags, plus he enjoyed wearing his patriotic-themed hat, T-shirt and shorts.
Corye Snodgrass, 33, of Garden City, came out to support his family and friends who were involved in the parade. He enjoyed “seeing all the vehicles, especially the older ones,” including three vintage Volkswagen Beetles. He said later in the day he’s going to eat hamburgers and enjoy coffee.
Reagan Karlin, 17, of Garden City, volunteered at the parade to give away books with BOB, the Books on the Bus mobile.
“I just think it’s cool to help out the community and make little kids happy,” she said, mentioning it was her first time volunteering for the bus.
Many area organizations were represented in the parade, including the Kansas Honor Flight, Boy Scout and Cub Scout Troops 712, the Garden City and Holcomb fire departments and the Kansas Highway Patrol. Several area businesses also came out to support the community in the first-ever Vets for Veterans parade.
“We think it’s important to be a part of the community, and this is one event we think is well worth it for the community, and we want to be a part of it,” said Pat Sanders, a spokeswoman for Tyson, who walked in the parade with a group of about 15 people, including Tyson employees and their families. “This is the first time they’ve had a Fourth of July parade in forever, but we try to participate in as many parades as we can.”
JD Ham, of Garden City, introduced each of the 40 parade entries from the top of a trailer on the corner of Main and Chestnut streets.
“I’m 67. I’ve probably been doing this for 50 years,” he said about announcing for different community or sporting events. “It’s fun. I like interacting with the kids. It gives people a little recognition for what they do.”
The 45-minute parade ended with about 20 men and women on motorcycles representing Vets for Veterans, the organization that sponsored the parade.
“Our mission is to help veterans, active duty and their families,” said the organization’s director, Ray Hernandez.
Devin Pelton, 10, of Garden City, watched the parade from his red folding chair while enjoying candy that parade participants had given him. He thought this was a great way to begin a day of eating, swimming and popping fireworks, of which popping fireworks was his favorite, he said.