MODESTO — About 25,000 people lined downtown streets Thursday for a Modesto institution — the city's 139th annual Fourth of July Parade. Spectators sat and stood in the shade, trying to stay cool while more than 100 entries passed by them, including marching bands, politicians riding in flashy cars, floats and clowns in tiny cars.
Many people have attended the parade for decades. They started as children, then later as young marrieds brought their children and now bring their grandkids. A heat wave that started late last week did not keep many people away.
Parade chairman Jeremiah Williams estimated the crowd at 25,000. That's a slight decline from last year, when the crowd was estimated at 30,000. The Modesto Irrigation Districtreported the temperature was 88 degrees at 10 a.m. during the heart of the parade. The temperature was 93 degrees at noon as the parade wrapped up.
"It's a hot day, but we go out and ride on hot days anyway," said Curtis Smith, 57, one of the roughly three dozen bicyclists in the Central Valley Cyclists United parade entry. "We go out whenever we can."
Central Valley Cyclists was not the only athletically inclined parade entry.
Players from the Stanislaus Senior Softball Association were out walking in front of their float along the 12-block parade route to promote their group, as well as the July 20 benefit for the Wounded Warrior amputee softball team at John Thurman Field.
Impromptu history lessonModesto resident Corine Boulton, 56, has attended the parade since the 1980s with family.
On Thursday, she brought some of the youngsters from her day care business. As a procession of Model A cars drove by, Boulton gave one 7-year-old boy an impromptu history lesson.
Boulton told the boy her mother was the same age as he is when her parents sold the family farm in Nebraska, loaded all their possessions on a Model A and drove to California in search of work and a better life nearly 75 years ago.
Boulton said her grandparents found that better life in Modesto. Her grandfather became a hospital janitor, and her grandmother worked in the canneries. Boulton said her mother and her mother's eight siblings also prospered in California.
"The American dream," Boulton said, summing up her family's story on Independence Day. "That was their American dream."
The Modesto Kiwanis Club organized the parade.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2316.
• Overall Equestrian Unit — Sheriff's Department
• Individual Equestrian — Lanting Family Percherons
• Equestrian Club — El Rematito
• Farm Entry — Lanting Family Percherons
• Antique Car Pre-1940 (Individual) — E Clampus Vitus
• Classic Car Pre-1973 (Individual) — Turner-Peterson firetruck
• Custom Car (Individual) — Veteran 1
• Antique Car Club — Modesto Area Model A
• Custom Car Club — Highway 99 PT Cruiser club
• Motorcycle Group — STAR Modesto Chapter 294
• Marching Band — PACT Marching Band
• Musical Group (Nonmarching Band) — VMI Rocks
• Dance-Drill-Cheer Group — Starstruck; 2nd place — PJ's Dance Studio
• Military Unit — Modesto Bill King Marine Corps League
• Color Guard — Lt. Col Arthur King Composite Squadron 50, Civil Air Patrol
• Corporate Float — Scenic Towing-Mike's Towing & U-Haul
• Ethnic Group-Float — International Festival
• Nonprofit Group-Float — Stanislaus Senior Softball Association
• Comical-Entertaining Entry — Grapes of Wrath
• Kids Group-Float — Yes Company
• Political Entry — Jenny Kenoyer
Source: Modesto Kiwanis Club