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Great Falls Hosts Hometown Celebration on July 4

Annual 5K, parade, festival highlight holiday events.

The Old Brogue float in the Fourth of July Parade features traditional Irish dancers.

The Old Brogue float in the Fourth of July Parade features traditional Irish dancers. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

— One year ago, the annual Great Falls Fourth of July Hometown Celebration was a welcome respite from almost a week with no power for the Nelson family of Great Falls.

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A float with a Great Falls gazebo replica participates in the annual Fourth of July parade.

"We were without power because of the derecho, sweltering with no air conditioning and throwing out the food in our fridge, and while the parade was fun, it was still more than 90 degrees and we couldn’t exactly go home and cool off," said Marc Nelson, who comes to the parade every year with his wife, two daughters and one dog. "This year was much more fun, because even though we were sweating, we knew we could go home to a cool house and a working stove."

The Nelsons were one of hundreds of families that descended on the Great Falls Village Centre Thursday, July 4 for the annual celebration. The morning began at 8 a.m., where more than 150 people participated in a 5K run.

The run started at the Freedom Memorial and went along the Lucy Hanes trail, which goes from Leo Santaballa Field to Great Falls Elementary School.

The Little Patriots parade featured children dressed in a variety of red, white and blue regalia, which led into the main parade.

"I love to see what all the businesses come up with for their floats each year, and they certainly didn’t disappoint this year," said Evan Norton of Great Falls. "My favorites are the ones with live music."

Several floats this year featured live music. A brass quintet rode on the old Great Falls fire truck, the Old Brogue truck sported a dance floor with traditional Irish dance and the Celebrate Great Falls float had a country singer with an acoustic guitar.

The parade route started on Columbine Street before circling around the village centre. Local organizations such as the Boy Scouts, horse riders, bicyclists and dog lovers also participated in the parade.

"It’s nice to see everyone come out and show off what they’re passionate about, whether it’s dancing, or their animals, or whatever," said Maria Gonzalez. "And my kids loved the landscaping float, because the sprinklers were a great way to cool off. They were able to get it twice, first on Columbine, then they ran up the hill to get it again when it passed through the parking lot."