An estimated 20,000 people turned out for the parade and a total of about 80,000 attended the various festivities on the Marietta Square during the day, said Holly Bass, CEO of Cobb Travel and Tourism.
The parade kicked off at Roswell Street Baptist Church at 10 a.m. and headed toward Glover Park on the Square, ending at noon.
Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn said, as of Wednesday afternoon, the only incidents that occurred were one person who had a seizure unrelated to the heat and another who passed out from too much alcohol consumption.
“I would call it very successful,” Tumlin said. “Sometimes I’ve gone where people (in the parade) were disappointed that they were number 29 rather than 21. The spirit at the very beginning at Roswell Street Baptist Church was awful good.”
Audrey Post, a grandmother of two, and her daughter, Laura Lemons, came prepared for the heat as they unfolded their lawn chairs by Glover Park to watch the festivities.
The two Marietta women sported a large, battery-operated portable fan, a cooler filled with ice, umbrellas, water and sliced water melon.
But as it turned out, parade attendees enjoyed a merciful breeze during the event. “We’ve had a nice breeze even with my fan. It’s been great,” Lemons said.
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Tumlin was also pleased with the weather.
“It was very pleasant compared to the last four or five days,” Tumlin said. “From the very beginning down at Roswell (Street) Baptist Church to the end I saw nothing but good results. We’re very people oriented. We don’t have the real fancy floats or anything, but it’s just people enjoying the Fourth, so I thought it went extremely well.”
Judith Overcash of Marietta said she attends the parade every year. Her favorite part is getting to see the various veterans organizations.
“I teach U.S. history at Walton High School, and so I appreciate any of the historical references to the Fourth of July and to our servicemen,” she said.
Overcash said she was also interested in seeing the candidates for county chairman.
“I’m going to look them up on the internet and find what they want to do for the county,” she said.
A group wearing Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee t-shirts sat in front of the Cobb State Court Building. Among them was Lanie Shipp, executive director of the Town Center Area Community Improvement District. Shipp said she can’t remember missing a parade.
“Either I’ve walked in the parade or been on the sidelines of the parade,” she said. “I think just the gaiety, the people are happy celebrating the Fourth of July, I think it’s the personification of all America.”
The Lee group cheered as Lee walked by with a group of supporters, all of them also wearing the Lee campaign shirts. Two walking with Lee were Mary Lou Stephens, who also works for the Town Center CID, and James Hudgins, of the design, engineering and management firm, ARCADIS, which has various projects its working on for the county and CIDs.
While there were elected officials and candidates at just about every other point along the parade route, there was only one marching band, Marietta High School’s.
“I would love to see more,” Overcash said. “I think perhaps it’s the dead of summer, and it’s probably hard to get their bands out, but if they invited them I’m sure they would turn out.”
One of the best views of the parade was from atop the Earl Smith Strand Theatre. Surveying the parade from that spot, Smith said he could have done with fewer political candidates and more marching bands and veterans organizations.
“People like to see veterans and high school marching bands,” Smith said. “I think you’d get a lot of people participating as far as the audience and supporters here because you have the families of those marching bands, so I think that brings more people downtown. I’d like to see more marching bands because we have a lot of marching bands around the county that are famous. They’re very famous and I would like to see that because the high schools, Marietta and the county high schools, ought to get a little more exposure with what they do.”
Tumlin said having more high school bands is always a goal.
“The two or three parades we’re involved with, the Veterans Day Parade and this one especially, it’s harder to get the bands together in the summer. They just scatter,” he said.
Smith said one of his favorite parts of the parade was the dancing lawn chair act called the Backyard Brigade, a dozen-man group that performs a dancing/marching number with lawn chairs.
The holiday concluded with fireworks launched from the First United Meth-odist Church’s parking lot.
“(I) am very proud of the job city staff did all day,” City Manager Bill Bruton said. “Crowds were large, and it was a wonderful evening for families and friends to enjoy Marietta and celebrate the freedoms that we have in America.”