An abundance of vibrant colors, smiles and hometown pride were on display along Gustine’s 5th Street on Friday, as hundreds of residents came out to celebrate the city’s 103rd Fourth of July parade and celebration.
This year’s event took on special significance for the Westside city of roughly 5,600 people, as this year marks Gustine High School’s 100th birthday. A special centennial celebration is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Gustine High.
Judi Gandy, executive director of the Gustine Chamber of Commerce, the primary sponsor of the parade and celebration, said tickets are sold out for Saturday’s celebration at Gustine High, and around 1,700 guests are expected to attend.
Ganday said Friday’s Fourth of July parade was the largest Gustine’s had in years. She attributed part of the high turnout to supporters being in town for Gustine High’s centennial celebration. Gandy said the parade had nearly 70 entries and floats this year. “Everyone really outdid themselves in floats. It’s gorgeous,” she said.
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A variety of floats proceeded along the parade route in the city’s downtown area, as songs like John Mellencamp’s “R.O.C.K. in the USA” played over a loudspeaker, setting the event’s patriotic tone. Residents stopped and put their hands on their hearts as the Gustine City Band played “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The parade was followed by a frog hopping competition and multiple activities in Henry Miller Park, and a fireworks show is scheduled for Friday night at Gustine High School stadium.