The sun was relentless and it got hotter by the minute, but big crowds still enjoyed central Delaware’s traditional kick-off to Independence Day.
The Smyrna-Clayton 4th of July parade was highly anticipated, but many in the crowd were also anticipating their plans for later in the holiday – time in the swimming pool, or an air-conditioned “cook-in.”
Chip Neese of Camden-Wyoming was part of a large family gathering in a scarce shady spot along the Main Street sidewalk as fire companies, local youth and community groups, elected officials, candidates for office and others marched by. “No matter how hot it gets, we’re always here for the parade. It’s just tradition,” Neese said.
Linden Boyer of Smyrna estimated he had been coming to the Smyrna-Clayton 4th of July parade for about 60 years. “The 4th of July is always going to be hot. It is a celebration. They do a nice job,” Mr. Boyer said.
Jerry Cooke of Earleville, Maryland was making his first visit to the longtime traditional parade. He was there in support of a neighboring fire company. Mr. Cook and his family were planning some “pool time” after the parade.
Pop-up lemonade stands also helped many to cool off – as did the shade of a 14-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty outside the local firehouse.
Eddy Seger of Clayton manufactured the replica out of plaster, and freshly painted it for its its public debut at the parade. He was glad to see people young and old posing for pictures and enjoying his work of art.
“It’s an icon. It’s Americana,” Seger said. “There’s nothing that says ‘4th of July’ more than a Sousa march and the Statue of Liberty.”
Those who stayed in the heat after the parade also enjoyed a day-long carnival. The parade alternates between Smyrna and Clayton each year.