All though barely noon, the heat was making beads of sweat appear on people’s foreheads. But not even the bright sun or the quickly warming temperatures could prevent several hundred area residents from taking part in Fairfax City's annual Independence Day celebration.
Helia Sepulveda sat next to her husband as they watched the parade, now in its 37th year, roll down University Drive. They had brought water, ice cubes and fans with them to combat the heat.
"We're coming earlier next year," said Helia Sepulveda of Fairfax. "The shady spots were taken."
After enjoying the parade with its Boy Scouts, Shriners and local churches' floats, crowds cooled off watching area firefighters compete in old-fashioned games at the Fairfax fire station or eating ice cream with Fairfax City police at Van Dyck Park.
"We'll follow this up with a fireworks display tonight," said Sepulveda's husband, Sam, mentioning the evening fireworks show and concert that would take place at Fairfax High School.
As the parade participants spritzed crowds with squirt bottles filled with water, children sat on the curb anticipating the next colorful float Their mothers fanned themselves furiously.
Andrew Hirshey of Annandale had ice cream and lemonade to help him cool down. This was his first time at the parade, having found out about it the day before through a newspaper listing.
"It's nice, good," Hirshey said. "Different floats, and a lot of people out."
That's why the Sepulvedas have been coming for the past three or four years.
"[It's a] small-town, all-American, patriotic atmosphere," Helia Sepulveda said.