EDMOND — There was no hiding Sarah Williams' enthusiasm on Thursday morning as she watched the LibertyFest parade in downtown Edmond.
The 6-year-old hopped up and down and waved as the Shriners with their brightly colored go-carts and dune buggies passed by. When one popped a wheelie, Williams was amazed.
“How'd they do that?” she asked her parents.
Her reaction wasn't unusual during the parade that drew thousands of people to downtown Edmond, lining the 1.5-mile-long parade route to watch floats of virtually every shape and size. The Shriners were a big hit with the crowd as was the weather, which was unseasonably mild Thursday morning with temperatures in the mid-70s.
“That's my favorite part about it,” Oklahoma City resident Toby White said. “We've come out here before when it was just unbearable, but you can't beat this weather today. It's perfect for the Fourth of July.”
The parade featured everything from the Shriners' dune buggies and three-wheelers to a purple fiberglass dinosaur from Pelican Bay. There also were vintage fire trucks and a squadron of vintage John Deere tractors. An Edmond bank designed its float to feature papier-mache firecrackers. Several vintage fire trucks also were popular with paradegoers.
As the parade streamed by, Wendy Adams sat with her 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. The family planned to make it an annual tradition.
“We don't normally go to parades, but I thought it might be fun to do this year,” she said. “The kids are getting a little older, and I think they can appreciate things more. It's been a fun day so far, and we haven't even seen any fireworks yet.”
Mike Davis and his wife, Jennifer, came up from Oklahoma City to see the parade and spend the rest of the day at Arcadia Lake. The Fourth of July is one of their favorite holidays.
“We have a lot of problems in our country, but this is one day where you can put those differences aside and appreciate what we have together without a lot of politics,” Davis said. “It doesn't matter what affiliation you have, this is a special day for everyone, and I hope that never changes.”
LibertyFest has been a Fourth of July fixture in Edmond for 41 years. The event began with a rodeo June 22 and concluded Thursday night with a fireworks display at the University of Central Oklahoma.
In between there was a kite festival, car show, cardboard boat regatta and Miss LibertyFest pageant, among other events during the festival.