When I was growing up, our 4th of July celebrations were overflowing with cousins and family traditions centered around the annual Dotter family gathering in Okeene. That gathering now waxes and wanes and this year took place a week early and a state away in Colorado. I think it may be time to make our own little family traditions so this year we began with Edmond's Libertyfest. It was a great day.**
The Libertyfest is a celebration in Edmond that spans multiple weeks. Next year, we'll try to catch the kite festival and other celebrations if our travels allow :) This year, E hitched a ride to the parade on Daddy's back. The parade begins at 9 which is very close to E's 9:30 nap and he got sunscreen in his eyes so he may not have had the best time, but he did a lot of climbing up and down a step or two near our viewing spot and dancing to all the music.
It was a very typical fourth of July parade - old cars, lots of flags, horses, what seemed like hundreds of Shriners, etc... Here are a few highlights.
M got pretty hot, but overall enjoyed it. I was expecting about 15-30 minutes based on our frequent Edmond Christmas Parade experiences, but this parade lasted 1.5 hours!
Miniature horses to remind us of our time in Colorado and Revolutionary War garb to remind us of the reason for the celebrations. I admit, I almost cried many times as veterans floats came by, particularly while trying to explain the purple heart float to the kids.
Look! A Minneapolis Moline! ( My Uncle and Dad had lots of these while we were growing up and I've ridden in a parade or two on them as well).
E decided it was time for a front row seat. The people sitting to our left were from Enid, which was one of my first clues that this parade might be kind of a big deal.
There were, of course, a variety of Star wars fanfolks as well. Do you see a Storm Trooper dressed as Uncle Sam? Sadly, B and Brent were in the bathroom during this portion and also missed the OKC Barons mascots and vehicles. There were three high school bands and Edmond Santa Fe definitely was most on its game this day.
The last thing in the parade? The Cattleman's Restaurant (a famous local steakhouse) Conestoga Wagon, of course! E was exhausted and feel asleep as soon as we got in the car. The rest of us had lunch and cold drinks from Sonic!
Next up after a little playing was a very lengthy naptime to prepare for a late night. During dinner, B pulled out his own tooth. This was #7 and he deemed this one of the best days of his life!!
In the evening, we drove to UCO for the "Parkfest" aspect of Libertyfest. I loved strolling through campus as I'm quite the university campus junkie. We had snow cones and went through a few bouncy castles. They clearly needed more bathrooms, food vendors, and bouncy things/rides given the huge numbers of people in attendance.
Someone sweetly volunteered to take our picture while we waited in line. I definitely need to step up my kids' festive 4th attire next year as there were some incredibly cute outfits around. Eventually we wandered back to the parking lot, folded down the seats in the minivan, waited, waited, and watched 30 minutes of a wonderful fireworks show. I think we parked in the worst lot on campus as it was the VERY last lot to get to empty out even though we were right next to the street. It was nearly midnight by the time we got home, but I think taking the kids to the fireworks was the right choice. The big kids loved it. They oohed and ahhed and had all sorts of commentary. They did not like the loud fireballs, but did love fireworks that sounded like popcorn. For the first 5 minutes E watched and clapped, but then he went back to crawling all over the interior of the van. It was a very fun day and definitely felt like a traditional 4th of July celebration!
**Actually, the parade was tragic as a small boy died in an unfortunate accident, but we insulated our kids from that as it was too much for their young ages, we thought.