The town turns out for Independence Day in Ridgefield

Home-style patriotism struts its stuff on streets, on sidewalks, in spectators’ hearts

By Maecy Enger, Columbian Staff Reporter

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Ridgefield Parade

Community members crowded the sidewalks for Ridgefield’s Fourth of July Parade. Red, white and blue decorated people and buildings. On sidewalks, American flags were placed every few feet.

The parade brought in 75 entries and even more people. Festival Director Sandy Schill said there were more than 5,000 spectators.

“It’s a good turnout,” she said.

Just before the actual parade, kids and families were invited to join in the Pet and Kid Pre-Parade. Brody Seppala, 5, of Ridgefield rode his bike — decorated in patriotic colors. His favorite thing about the parade was “all the people that come.”

To add to the Fourth festivities this year, fireworks weren’t the only thing in the sky. Flying above the crowds, the Raven Flight performed aerial formations. The local group of pilots practice and fly for fun.

Following behind them to officially start the parade, the Oregon Air National Guard 142nd Fighter Wing, based in Portland, flew over the city twice in F-15 Eagle Fighter jets.

Watching the planes and sitting on the sidewalk ready to watch the parade, Samantha Maerae-Smith, 5, of Ridgefield was eager to see the horses, her favorite part of the parade.

The theme was “American Movies,” with floats ranging from “True Grit,” by the city of Ridgefield councilmen, to “Grease,” by the IQ Credit Union.

The grand marshal was local school crossing guard Hank Hayden, whose usual mohawk was dyed red, white and blue. He said he might keep it in the patriotic colors for the rest of the year.

Ridgefield High School cheerleaders Madeline Kusch and Kelsey Smith were in the parade for the first time.

“It seems like a time for the community to get together,” Kusch said.

But Ridgefield’s Chloe Pynenburg, 5, was excited about something else in the parade.

“We get lots of candy,” Chloe said.

Ridgefield’s annual Fourth of July celebration offers more than just the parade; it’s an all-day event. People came out for the early pancake breakfast and the 5k and 10k fun runs in the morning. In Overlook Park, there were food and craft vendors and children’s activities.

The celebration even included a coaster derby, an eventthat has not been done in many years. The derby had 11 entries and will probably be included in the celebration next year.

A fireworks display capped off the evening.

Maecy Enger: maecy.enger@columbian.com