What parade-announcers termed a “record-breaking crowd – the largest ever” lined the sunny streets of Buena Vista on Thursday for the Fourth of July Parade. Crowds stretched from Avery/Parsons Elementary School all the way west on Main Street, nearly to Turner Farm.
The parade was led by Mayor Duff Lacy, followed by an honor guard from American Legion Post 55, pausing before the announcer stand for the Star Spangled Banner.
The cheerful crowd represented the community: families and grandparents, teens and young children, county residents and visitors. Most overwhelmingly sporting holiday colors, with children in star-spangled headwear. They enthusiastically clapped as the parade passed by.
Some, like 20-month-old Miya Hannah, attending the parade with her mother Kim Hannah, stared wide-eyed at some of the enormous truck floats. She clapped in glee when the music of the Buena Vista Jazz Band float came along.
The hour-long bonanza of red, white and blue be-decked emergency vehicles, ATV and bike regattas, family floats and company entries, equine therapy organizations and rodeo queens on horseback, were cheered all along the parade route. Kids were sweets winners, as most parade entries tossed out candy to the kids along the route.
The parade began with a roaring helicopter fly-over by the REACH rescue helicopter, accompanied by a sleek Italian helicopter, here in the Arkansas River Valley for high altitude training at the Central Colorado Regional Airport west of town.
Clowns and costumed parade entries filled Main Street, blending in at some points with the crowd’s overwhelming red, white and blue color scheme. Among parade floats – the U.S. Forest Service and Smoky the Bear, causing the parade announcer to remind the thousands of people lining the parade route of campfire safety, ending with Smoky’s message “that only you can prevent wildfires.”
The parade wasn’t the only holiday celebrations in Buena Vista for the July 4 holiday. The day led off with a pancake breakfast, a 5k run down Main street, and was followed by a day-long arts festival and entertainment in McPhelemy Park.
After fireworks cancellations the past couple of years due to high fire danger, the fireworks display was enthusiastically received. The display at dusk at the rodeo grounds was managed by the Buena Vista Fire Department.