MARIETTA — Three generations of the Cannington family sat under the shade of the State Court of Cobb County as they enjoyed Thursday morning’s Let Freedom Ring parade in Marietta.

They were out there at about 7 a.m. — three hours before the parade’s start time — to secure the sweet spots.

“It always kicks off America’s day for us. We always love coming to the parade and celebrating Marietta and America,” said Nic Cannington of Marietta. “We’re going to head to the pool after this, do some pool time, and then probably do fireworks in the neighborhood later tonight — just enjoy the day.”

Cannington’s 5-year-old son, Nolan, shared his favorite part of the parade.

“The jeeps,” said Nolan, who will start kindergarten at Cheatham Hill Elementary School next year.

Nolan was one of Jay Cannington’s three grandchildren to watch the parade Thursday, and according to the grandfather, all three shared similar tastes in parade offerings.

“The kids liked the big trucks,” Jay Cannington said.

An estimated 35,000 people lined the streets for the parade according to city officials, who had the chance to watch 110 entries and 2,000 participants proceed through city streets.

Among the first featured in the parade was its grand marshal, Floyd Martin, who was driven along the route in a maroon Corvette with the top down — a more stylish and likely breezier ride than the United States Postal Service truck he recently handed back in upon his retirement in May after 35 years.

Martin made national headlines this spring when the people on his Marietta mail route gave him a trip to Hawaii to celebrate the friendliness he showed to them over his years of service.

A marching band, military-style vehicles and muscle cars were among the entries that followed Martin, not to mention beauty queens and ballet dancers.

Snow White and Queen Elsa later strolled past the spectators, along with superheroes Captain America, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Superman.

Real-life, everyday heroes were also a part of the festivities, with the Marietta Fire Department rolling its 1949 Pirsch ladder truck and 1962 Ford Falcon down the road, among other vehicles, while firefighters in full gear walked beside them.

Before the parade began, Nikki Giamarino of Acworth said she was looking forward to seeing the firemen. She and her husband, Tim O’Hara, sat in the intersection of Lawrence and Cherokee Streets, across from The Strand Theatre.

“I grew up in Marietta but didn’t come to the parade as a kid, but to the fireworks,” said Giamarino, who said Thursday’s was probably the fourth Marietta parade the two had attended.

“We like to be over there in the shade,” Giamarino said, referring to the area in front of the Cobb Government Building. “But it was full even early when we got here, so we thought this was the second best, and then I realized that we’re not going to get any sun protection. But you’ve got to be on the front row. The front row is the place to be.”

Echoed O’Hara, “This is where everything is happening right now. You’ve got the fair already set up, the Marietta Square right there, you’ve got the Strand, so it’s a central location.”

Marietta’s 4th in the Park Celebration continued after the parade with free concerts, arts and crafts activities and fireworks were planned in the evening.

Follow Jon Gargis on Twitter at twitter.com/JonGargis.

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