Area residents celebrate country’s independence

The Tri-Cities area was filled with sun and plenty of activity during the Independence Day holiday. Monday began with festivities in the city of Ferrysburg, where a parade was held. "It was a great turnout,' Ferrysburg Mayor Jeff Stille said. "We've had progressively more and more people turn out every year. God bless this beautiful day - it really helps to have a nice healthy turnout.'
Alex Doty
Jul 5, 2011


To see photos of the parade, click here.

This year’s parade featured the U.S. Army Reserves’ 180th Transportation Company as the grand marshal — as well as classic cars, the Fruitport High School band, and various veterans’ groups and community organizations.

Stille said the parade in Ferrysburg has grown since it was first held as a walking parade with only about 100 people lining the street.

“It was started out by an Eagle Scout,” Stille said. “He started out the event as one of his projects.”

“I know a lot of people look forward to it every year, and I hope that we can continue to do this year after year,” the mayor added.

Prior to the parade, a free community Mayor’s Breakfast was held at Ferrysburg City Hall.

“We had over 500 people,” Stille said. “It’s the largest head count we’ve had so far. In the five years that we’ve done this, it’s progressed really nicely.”

July 4 came to a patriotic end on Grand Haven’s waterfront, where U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga read the Declaration of Independence, and the sky was lit by both the Musical Fountain and a fireworks show after the reading.

To see a photo gallery of the fireworks show, click here.  To see photos of the reading of the Declaration of Independence, click here.

“It’s been a great day,” Huizenga said at Waterfront Stadium. “We’ve had a number of parades up and down the district, and I am glad I could end it here in Grand Haven.”

The Zeeland Republican congressman said that many people lose perspective of the meaning of Independence Day in the midst of all of the fun — the fireworks show, days off from work and family cookouts.

“For those men and women in uniform, it’s very different,” he said. “They are out there on the front line, protecting our freedoms.”

Huizenga also said he felt honored to take part in the library’s reading of the Declaration of Independence in front of a packed house at Waterfront Stadium.

“It’s pretty amazing to think those words I had a chance to read tonight still ring true,” he said. “It’s still about us taking part in this ongoing experiment in self-rule.”

Monday night’s reading was part of Loutit District Library’s “John Adams Unbound” traveling exhibit. Huizenga was escorted from the library down Washington Avenue to the waterfront by period re-enactors.

“This is a very unique situation that we have,” said Larry Halverson, the library’s public relations coordinator. “We were awarded the ‘John Adams Unbound’ library during the 4th of July, and we wanted to make full arrangements for a 4th of July celebration due to the fact that Adams was one of the editors in the document itself. ... The Declaration of Independence is our greatest document that was written and this sets the tone for our celebration.”

To see videos of the Ferrysburg parade, reading of the Declaration of Independence and fireworks show, click here:


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