From parades and barbecues to lighting off fireworks, community members and visitors celebrated the fourth of July with a bang.
Grand Haven resident Mario Romanelli and his 7-year-old daughter, Gianna, beat the rush and claimed their parade seats a few hours early. The two passed time by playing catch.
“We got here early. We over planned,” he laughed.
Grand Haven resident Sandi Hale attended the parade with her son, father and step-mother. Hale said she enjoys attending the annual parade because the community seems to be patriotic.
“(I like) the fact we are celebrating freedom and independence,” Hale said.
As the parade began, police and fire departments, along with antique cars, filled the streets. Parade participants tossed candy for kids.
For three drivers from Port City Puddle Jumpers, the parade had a special meaning – they had three generations of relatives driving their antique cars.
Fremont resident Marie Hogsett drover her 1982 Mini-Mart car as her dad and her son drove their own cars. Hogsett said she participates in parades because she enjoys the smiles on the kids’ faces.
“It’s all about making people happy,” she said.
Spring Lake resident Jenny Babcock’s children were among the smiling faces Hogsett saw during the parade.
“They love it,” Babcock said.
Following the parade, attendees walked to Ferry Park where they enjoyed a free lunch with crafts and games.
Ferrysburg resident Kate Darga snapped pictures and waited as her daughter, Alison, had a clown make her a purple balloon dog.
Darga said she brought her daughters to the parade and lunch because it’s fun.
“It’s pretty cool,” Darga said. “It’s a great way to spend time with family and friends.”
As five-year-old Brianna Harrell tossed a ping pong ball into buckets trying to win a prize, her mom, Dawn, cheered her on.
Harrell, a Norton Shores resident, she her children participated in the parade by riding in one of the antique cars and wanted to participate in the lunch and activities.
“It’s wonderful,” Harrell said.
To wind down his holiday, Grand Haven resident Earle Bares claimed a prime seat along the water a few hours before the Musical Fountain kicked off the night’s entertainment.
Bares said he always attends the fireworks in Grand Haven.
“I like the show,” he said.
Spring Lake resident Peg Zura and her daughter, Mary, followed their tradition of attending Grand Haven’s fireworks show.
Peg said she prefers Grand Haven’s fireworks because of their quantity and quality.
“They have the best fireworks by far,” Peg said.