PORTAGE | Flags were flying in the breeze as freezer pops flew through the air from floats to paradegoers lined up along Willowcreek in Portage for the annual Fourth of July parade.
The sounds of horns and sirens from every imaginable incarnation of emergency vehicle and country music celebrated the Independence Day holiday.
Meanwhile, Trevon Parnell, 5, of Lake Station, collected an entire plastic grocery bag full of Tootsie Rolls, Pixie Stix, peppermints and Starbursts.
“I like the candy. And the motorcycles,” said Parnell.
Bill Coban, a life-long Portage resident, came to enjoy the parade with his three grandchildren, Leah, 3, Sadie, 1, and Ian, 5 months.
“Ian wanted to drive that big monster truck so bad, but they wouldn’t let him,” Coban joked, sitting in his lawn chair.
He said that his favorite part of the parade was a bit nostalgic for him.
“I do love everything about this parade, but my favorite has to be the Portage High School marching band. I was in the band when I was in high school there and marched in parades like this and I have to say, I still love it,” he said.
The parade lasted more than an hour as military groups, church groups, seniors organizations, sports leagues and even tow truck companies brought out their members, vehicles and especially the candy.
Lauren Moberley, 13, of Valparaiso, came with her family and friends, along with her Dalmatian-chowchow mix named Padre, who was very well behaved, especially considering the loud parade entries and the hundreds of spectators.
“I really enjoyed the emergency brigade which started the parade. It was a good display of how they are helpers for the community. There were firetrucks, ambulances, police cars, SWAT teams, and the ladder trucks,” said Moberley.
Many parade attendees wore patriotic-themed dresses and shirts, waved small flags, and even viewed the parade from stars and stripes lawn chairs or blankets.
Nearby, Portage City Hall was flanked with dual two-story American flags.