That would be the Fourth of July Parade. It was even longer when I was a child. The major business in my town was a trucking company (our football team is still the Truckers!) and every semi in the business was in the parade. We still have every fire department in the county, including townships, every military vehicle in anyone's collection, the 3 wheeled motorcycle club, the 4-H clubs, every civic organization, every police and fire department, every band or marching group. Every vintage tractor, every antique car, pick up trucks of Little Leaguers, scouts and even tumbling down the street by dance studios. Every fair and festival princess and every veterans group. And I can't forget the politicians. Floats include our garden clubs, every church and every vacation bible school, family farms and, new this year, two floats that featured live bands! A new bar/burger place had their evening entertainers on a float (we were all rockin') and a local bluegrass festival had a 3 piece on their float, too. It was really fun and I hope we see more music next year. All in all, this year's parade lasted about 2 1/2 hours while we were sitting in perfect weather in the high 70's on a shaded tree lawn. I am always amazed at the crowd watching the parade since it seems like everyone in town is in the parade!
Mr Merry discussing the parade with our second youngest grandchild.
After the parade we headed to his gorgeous backyard where the dining delights began. He and his lovely wife had invited all my children and grandchildren, as well as her family, too. And because they are good neighbors, they included the neighbors on either side, too. And that meant even more food. We enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs from his new grill, potato salad, cole slaw, a fruit salad, a red and blue jello salad with a layer of homemade whipping cream that was to die for, two different and delicious baked beans, cheesy potatoes, sausage and cheese with crackers, spinach artichoke dip, brownies, vanilla cupcakes with red/white/blue sprinkles, cupcakes with candy centers and the richest frosting you ever tasted, and a layered sponge cake with blueberries and strawberries. And an appetizer I found on Pinterest the night before.
We had our three oldest grandchildren spend the night. The oldest is 7 and the twins are 5, so I knew I couldn't get too fancy. These were very well received! Inexpensive and tasty. I ran to Aldi's and bought some cherry tomatoes, the precooked bacon and cream cheese with onions and chives. I almost ran to the grocery for basil before I remembered I have two new basil plants in my flower bed! And I have accumulated tons of those flag toothpicks over the years.
These are so easy that my 5 year old granddaughter could make them herself!
Rocking the cat's eye sunglasses on her uncle's new stamped patio.
Update: We were caught by our local newspaper's roving photographer! In the picture below, my two oldest grandsons are still saluting our flag while their sister has her eyes peeled for candy. Mr Merry and I are standing in the background. One of my lovely daughter in-laws is in the red shirt and everyone to the right are her cousins and their children. My oldest daughter and her husband are behind their children and the man in the red shirt between my grandchildren is someone I went to school with, who is married to the sister of one of my daughter-in-laws's aunts. He lost his first wife to lung cancer before she was 30 and his current wife (also a classmate) was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer almost a year ago and is fighting a valiant fight. To continue the small town vibe, the lovely lady in pink, mother of the two adorable girls, the boy on her dad's lap and a newborn somewhere in the crowd is my daughter in-law's cousin and was one of my dad's hospice nurses when he was in the veterans home.