ZELIENOPLE — Vance Williams carried his 18-month-old grandson Calvin in his arms Thursday to give him the best spot to watch the Zelienople Independence Day Parade.
“Tractor,” Calvin said as he pointed with eyes wide in excitement at the passing parade floats.
Red, white and blue paraded through the borough at the annual parade, presented by the Rotary Club of Zelienople. The crowd cheered and clapped as a variety of floats, performances and law enforcement made their way from Grandview Avenue to Beaver Street to ring in the holiday.
Between 3,000 people to 4,000 people watched about nine parade floats, 40 fire trucks, 25 classic cars and 20 tractors, said Dan Fritch, parade chairman. This year, one more block was added to the parade to allow participants an area to turn around after the parade, he said.
The parade, a 40-year tradition in the borough, helps develop a sense of community, attendees said.
“Community” is the aspect that has continued the tradition, Williams said. The holiday is a time to remember freedom, he added.
“Independence — what this country is all about,” he said.
His wife, Mary Williams, said the parade brings people together.
“You see people who you haven't seen in years,” she said.
Nancy McGranahan of Harmony walked along the streets with her husband and daughter until they found the perfect viewing spot. The holiday means family, fun and friends to McGranahan, she said.
“It's always fun,” McGranahan said about the years she and her family have attended the event with relatives.
The parade is one activity that helps build bonds as the community from far and wide gathers, she added.
“It's a wonderful community,” she said.
Brayden, 5, and Vinnie White, 2, shared a hug in a moment of excitement as they awaited the parade's lights and sounds to turn the corner.
To the two brothers, the holiday means fireworks, they said.
Their mother, Lindsay White of Plum, brought her family because she used to live in Zelienople, she said.
“It's a time to spend with family and be thankful,” White said.