Americans of every race, creed and color joined together Wednesday morning to celebrate America with Marietta’s 50th annual Freedom Parade.
As the dawn’s early light peeked over the horizon they came to find a spot along the parade route down Roswell Street through the Square and down Cherokee Street to North Marietta Parkway. They bore folding chairs, picnic blankets and plenty of red, white and blue.
The parade’s 110 entries and 2,000 participants ran the gamut from decorated local veterans to dancers and musicians, beauty queens and fancy horses.
Representatives from the Cobb County Library System drew laughs and applause from the crowd with a synchronized book cart routine. The librarians weaved their carts in between one another, spinning in circles and banging rhythmically on the tops. A group called the Backyard Brigade dressed in tacky dad clothes and representing RE/MAX Around Atlanta did a twirling routine using folding lawn chairs instead of batons.
The Azalea Trail Maids, a group of costumed southern belles from Mobile, Alabama, made a big impact on the crowd as they spun around and waved to the crowd in colorful antebellum-era outfits.
There was so much to see that Amara Releford, a rising fifth-grader at Mableton Elementary, had a hard time picking a favorite.
“I thought it was awesome and great because I loved the people who wore the dresses and the cars people rode on and the horses with different styles and designs and the cheerleaders and the dancers. It was great,” she said.
Amara’s mother, Tamika Releford, who works for Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, agreed.
“I thought the parade was awesome,” she said. “They had a lot of diverse entries, it was very entertaining for kids. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire parade today.”
Also present were elected officials, candidates and supporters from both parties, who schmoozed with voters and threw candy to kids along the way.
Notably, both Republican candidates for Governor, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, chose Marietta’s parade as the place to spend their Fourth of July, possibly indicating they believe Cobb will be important in deciding who will face Democrat Stacey Abrams after the July 24 GOP runoff.
But Wednesday was a day for all Americans to celebrate, and both camps cheered hearty “Happy Fourth!” to their fellow patriots of all stripes.
Among those patriots were Drea Chase, a stay-at-home mom and Joyette Master, a bus driver for Cobb County Schools, both of whom live in Marietta. The two friends said they came to watch their sons who both marched as part of the same Boy Scout Troop and had a great time watching all the other performers.
“Besides the Boy Scouts — I’m a little biased there — I really loved the horses. I loved the high school band that was in there too … and just the different clubs. I’m still fairly new to the area, and I didn’t know they had so many clubs in Cobb County,” Master said.
“I love how it’s such a huge showing,” she said. “There’s a lot of people out here. It’s very diverse, it’s entertaining, it’s a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be. It’s a great showing.”