Thousands of revelers flock to Huntington Beach for annual Fourth of July parade
Mark and Peggy-Ann Kavanaugh enjoyed the sea of red, white and blue, parade floats, decorative bicycles, marching bands and military service members passing by as the couple sat with their dog, Buddy, on a grassy area across the street from Huntington Beach High School.
The Huntington Beach couple said they have attended the annual Fourth of July parade in the city for 10 years, viewing it as a way to connect with neighbors.
“It’s a sense of community,” Mark Kavanaugh, 56, said Wednesday. “Everyone just seems to relax, and stop and think about the country and what’s happened in the past and where we are today and why we got here.”
And estimated more than half a million revelers cheered as parade floats and school bands marched the 2.3-mile route up Main Street from Pacific Coast Highway to Yorktown Avenue. Billed as the oldest Fourth of July parade west of the Mississippi, the procession turned 114-years-old Wednesday.
This year’s theme was “A Star-Spangled Salute.”
“It just encompasses all patriotic feelings,” said parade director Pat Stier. “When you look at the world, you have your own feelings on it. It’s just a good all-around theme that we try to make general for everybody.”
The grand marshal this year was Burt Ward, the actor best known for playing Robin in the 1960s “Batman” TV series.
Sporadic chants of “USA, USA” could be heard throughout the parade route, high school bands played “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and World War II veterans waved from slow-moving cars while current military service members walked and greeted the crowd.
Up above, police helicopters and Navy planes flew overhead.
On-lookers donned their flashiest red, white and blue attire on the sunny day in observance of the holiday and thousands riding beach cruiser bicycles crowded Main Street before the procession got under way.
On Pacific Coast Highway and 8th Street, Huntington Beach resident Amy Kremnitzer stood near her bicycle decked out in American flag regalia. Kremnitzer wore a tutu and hair pins in the colors of the flag.
The 36-year-old said she has been a fixture at the celebration for 12 years and started decorating her bicycle five years ago.
“It’s fun,” Kremnitzer said. “We know how to celebrate here.”
The parade is one of many gatherings across Orange County celebrating Independence Day.
The beachside parade began in 1904 and is one of three events being held in the Surf City on Wednesday – the others being a 5K run and a fireworks show.