RIDGEFIELD — A slice of America. A red, white and blue tradition. A beautiful start to a blue-sky summer. Ridgefield's annual Fourth of July celebration brought it all Wednesday.
But what makes the annual parade so fun? Here's what some of the participants had to say:
• Ridgefield High School band members: "Walking down the parade route and seeing people you know," said Taylor Barry, 16, who plays the flute. Euphonium player Adam Goddard, 17, says he thinks the fun comes from "seeing how big our little town has grown."
• Carole Grimm: "I think it's the hometown atmosphere. Everyone seems to have fun. Kids really like it, especially when they get candy." Grimm was one of several riders on the Margaritaville-themed Ridgefield Parr Lumber float.
• Geri Wells: "It's so family-oriented. It brings the families out together." Wells and her family and friends built a large float recreating the World War II Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, D.C. It was the second year she has participated in the parade after feeling God's call last year, when her entry was titled "One Nation Under God."
• Marisa Hermance, Clark County Fair Court Queen: "I think what makes it fun is all the spirit of the Fourth of July," said Hermance, 17, who is a Battle Ground resident. "You look down (the street) and you see all the red, white and blue!"
Of course, all of those reasons and more brought thousands to the downtown parade route.
The 60-minute parade stepped off on time at 11 a.m. under cloudless skies, and over the next hour a satisfying mix of local talent took to Pioneer Street and Main Avenue, punctuated by an Oregon Air National Guard flyover by a pair of fighter jets at 11:35 a.m., exactly as advertised.
There were 10 firetrucks in the parade, at least one of which was 100 years old. But they were outnumbered by TLC Towing of Ridgefield, which brought 16 entries into the parade.
There were probably even more politicians and would-be politicians, headlined by hometown success U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. The Ridgefield native now lives in Camas, but received an ovation from her old hometown.
Most of the candidates stayed with the tried-and-true formula of waving to the crowd and shaking hands while supporters gave candy to children, but the Ridgefield City Council took to the streets dressed as the '70s disco group the Village People.
There were at least two Elvises, a bunch of kids dressed as giant teeth, an ice cream parlor-themed float sponsored by the Clark Regional Wastewater District and, astride a bright orange quad, a student dressed as Ridgefield High School 's mascot, the King Spud.
What more could you want in a small town festival?
And, of course, it was but one of several in Clark County Wednesday. Several neighborhoods, including Felida, held children's parades, barbecues and other get-togethers. In Yacolt, the annual Rendezvous included a parade, lawn mower races and evening fireworks. Camas-Washougal celebrated the Fourth with evening concerts at Marina Park, capped with a fireworks show.
Craig Brown: 360-735-4514; email@example.com. Twitter: col_cops.