EAST BEND — Area residents and visitors began lining up early all along Main Street in East Bend in anticipation of the annual God and Country Day Parade. A grand Independence Day parade in East Bend is a tradition that dates back to the early 1900s. This marked the 27th year in its current form as God and Country Day.
Local veterans lead the procession with Melvin Speas serving as the grand marshal. Church floats, area businesses, organizations and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx took part in the parade as well as a plethora of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles from around the county. Tractors, livestock, classic cars and more also promenaded down Main Street.
Children and adults alike scrambled to collect candy thrown by riders in the passing floats and vehicles. The young and the young at heart all enjoyed the excitement of the day.
“I like seeing the fire trucks,” said LaDale Spainhour, an East Bend resident who has been attending the parade for as long as she could remember.
Madison Hutchens said the fireworks at the end of the day was her favorite part of the celebration each year. She has attended God and Country Day for all of her 17 years.
Following the parade, the celebration continued on the grounds of East Bend Elementary School with food and craft vendors, live music and messages from area pastors.
“It’s something good for our community. Everybody comes together,” Terri Hutchens said of the event. She, too, has been attending since childhood.
At the opening ceremony, veterans were recognized and given a token of appreciation.
The float winners were announced with East Bend Cub Scout Pack 670 recognized as best youth float. Best theme was awarded to Shady Grove United Methodist Church with their Christmas in July float. Most patriotic was presented to the American Legion Post 336. New Vision Church was awarded most inspirational float.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.