The Marietta Independence Day parade kicked off the day's events. The parade included more than 115 entries with 44 floats and roughly 2,000 participants. Red, white and blue patriotism was on full display among participants and folks in the crowds.
The parade started at 10 a.m. in conjunction with entertainment on Marietta Square featuring free live concerts, food, 90 arts and crafts vendors and carnival games. The Fourth in the Park Festival is the city's largest annual event. A colorful fireworks display, conducted at 9:30 p.m. from the Marietta First United Methodist Church parking lot, was the celebration's finale.
The parade began at Roswell Street Baptist Church and traveled west on Roswell Street. At Glover Park and the Square, the route went down Cherokee Street and ended at the Cobb Police Department headquarters on North Marietta Parkway.
The theme for this year's parade float contest was "America, From Sea to Shining Sea."
Diedra Garrett and Brian Brzek of Mableton brought 3-year-old Jake Brzek to the parade. His favorite part, the couple said, was the old-timey cars that traveled past their spot on Roswell Street across from the Marietta National Cemetery.
No parade would be complete without beauty queens waving in convertibles, well-groomed Scouts in their uniforms, and politicians glad-handing everyone they met. And in that respect, the Marietta Independence Day Parade did not disappoint.
Among the many floats and performances were: the Twilight Twirlers of Marietta, a group of adult women twirling their batons; Metro Atlanta Young Marines, a troop of boys that marched in fatigues; the Marietta High School Marching Band paraded in unison; Kennesaw Mountain Shrine Club members slowly cruised in their convertibles; and the Pink Suitcase Sisters, an organization of women dedicated to travel, entertained the crowds.
Karen Handel, Eric Johnson and John Oxendine were among gubernatorial candidates who marched with supporters in the parade. There were also many local political candidates who participated as well. The Georgia Tea Party was one of the largest parade groups.
A group of young ladies in antebellum hoop skirts that floated by was a favorite for many parade watchers, including Dan and Mary Guill of Marietta.
"We're loving it," Mary Guill said of the parade.
Mark and Denise Zangari of Kennesaw attended the parade with their teenage son Jerard Zangari, and West Highland white terrier named Daisy.
"It's a wonderful day, great breeze and a great celebration of our independence," Mark Zangari said.