Great Falls Fourth of July celebration Monday was attended by hundreds of residents, their vehicles and their pets. Whether celebrants were lining the parade route around the Great Falls Village Center or were participants in the hometown celebration, red, white and blue were the uniform of the day.
Unity and neighborliness could be seen everywhere as parade walkers waved and called to people by name. “Last year was our first time here and it was great, but we didn’t know anybody. This year, after just a year, there are so many people that we know. It really feels like something special,” said Susan Drakes.
Great Falls has been celebrating the Fourth of July with a hometown celebration since 1955. This year the fireworks were held the evening before the celebration. The fireworks and family fun held at Turner Farm were well attended, despite the early rain showers. The bombs burst in air a little ahead of schedule, according to Rich Curd, because of fears that more rain was coming. Attendees did not appear to let the soggy conditions dampen their spirits as they sat on blankets at the park or on their car hoods along Springvale Road.
The fireworks are sponsored by The Brogue Charities and Great Falls Friends. “It was a nice show. You didn’t think I’d be lighting off sparklers, did you?” said Michael Kearney, the head of Brogue Charities. The fireworks lasted for nearly 30 minutes and were complete with a choreographed ending.
Several events were scheduled throughout the day of the hometown celebration and provided an array of opportunities for members of the community. The day started with a 5K walk. An all-day blood drive sponsored by the Great Falls Ecumenical Council and held at Great Falls Methodist Church had a steady stream of plasma donors.
The highlight of the celebration for parents was the Baby Parade sponsored by Newcomers of Great Falls. Prizes were award to the toddlers who best represented the spirit of the festivities. “Isn’t she cute? She just won [the] Betsy Ross [award],” said little Caty Droze’s mother.
The main parade and antique parade rounded out the day with pomp and Old Glory. Everything from tricycles to ponies to Ferraris were decked out in America’s colors. Cheering citizens were given sweet memories this year because candy and ice pops were thrown along the parade route.