East Bend may be a small town, but it pulled out all the stops for a big celebration of the July 4 holiday with its annual God and Country Celebration. The festivities took place on Saturday beginning with a parade down Main Street. Veterans were given the top billing of the day representing the various branches of service leading in the parade carrying the American flag. This year’s grand marshals were WWII veterans Jess Willard and Clyde Wall.
Floats from area churches, Boys Scout and Girl Scout troops, sports teams and more were decorated in bright colors with a variety of unique themes. Classic cars, fire trucks from around the region, tractors and horses rounded out the parade, with many groups throwing candy to those lining the sidewalks.
Following the parade, attendees gathered on the grounds of East Bend Elementary School where there were vendors selling food and craft items. Again veterans were given special recognition. All veterans in attendance were asked to stand and be honored. Girl Scouts presented each veteran with a commemorative God and Country Celebration hat.
“To me it means a lot because we’re one of the few communities around that still puts God first in our community,” said East Bend Fire Chief Ronnie Boles. “It means a lot for me to be able to share that with my kids as well as all the other kids here.”
The event had plenty of fun activities for the children, including a water slide. A highlight of the event each year for the children is what the East Bend Volunteer Fire Department refers to as “wet and wild.” In the heat of the day, the kids can cool off when the fire department sprays some 7,000 gallons of water from the hoses for the kids to play in.
This year the department also had a new activity for children, an obstacle course replicating training for firefighters, with the chance to spray a fire hose to douse some faux flames. The activity was the brainchild of East Bend firefighter Ashley Wimmer.
The 26th annual East Bend God and Country Day concluded with fireworks.
Also celebrating in a big way on July 4 was the town of Yadkinville. The streets were lined with folks for the parade on Monday afternoon. Despite dreary conditions for most of the day, the sun came out just in time for the parade. Leading in the procession were area veterans and Grand Marshal Beverly Long.
A concert by the Stan Bobbitt Band followed the parade with fireworks ending the evening’s celebration.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.