Two decades have gone by, and River Falls resident Vince Vaghi still welcomes the responsibility of organizing the community's annual Fourth of July parade. "There’s just no other place I’d rather be 4th of July than River Falls," said Vaghi. "Twenty years I’ve been doing this, it’s just grown."
This year the River Falls Fourth of July festival kicked off with 9 a.m. Fun Runs, 1 and 2 miles long, and a 2-mile walk through the River Falls community.
In front of the River Falls Clubhouse, at 11:30 a.m., more than 150 residents began assembling under Vaghi’s command for the main event: the parade.
A few minutes after high noon, to the cheers of the residents who had gathered on the street, a police car pulled out of the clubhouse parking lot. Following the police car was this year’s Miss Firecracker, Francesca D’Onofrio, and her two friends Aria Marquiles and Nora Winkler in the back of their turquoise convertible.
Behind Miss Firecracker were almost 100 of River Falls’ youngest residents on their festively decorated bikes, scooters, trikes, and strollers.
Next came families and friends in convertibles sporting red, white and blue decorations, including Little Miss Firecrackers Caroline Crump and Chloe Murphy in a red convertible. Even the River Falls swim coaches and lifeguards were represented with decorated SUVs.
Jogging along either side of a tennis net attached to the back of a red SUV, the members of the River Falls tennis team were in action. "We were volleyballing for a seventh court," explained Christina Davis — the growing team is hoping that the club will vote to add seventh tennis court.
Patriotically bringing up the rear of the parade were rescue vehicles, fire trucks, and the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue squad, and the Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department.
To Elizabeth Egger, the Fourth of July "means I can go on parades and eat!" She was not disappointed as the day ended with a two-hour picnic that not only featured the traditional hamburgers, hot dogs, and watermelon, but an assortment of foods including the delicious goodies from the bake-off which took place at noon.