Posted: Jul 4, 2012 4:09 PM by Laura Wilson - KPAX/KAJ News
Updated: Jul 5, 2012 7:58 AM
KALISPELL- Any long-time resident can tell you when it comes to parades, the annual Main Street Fourth of July parade is one of the most celebrated in the Flathead Valley.
"It's been going on since I've lived here and even before that,"said Kalispell resident Abbie Jones. "My boyfriend has lived here all his life and he says everybody always comes out for the Kalispell parade."
Kalispell native Mike Anderson said he remembers watching the parade through the years from rooftops, windows and both ends of the street.
"It was a lot smaller parade back then," Anderson said. "Of course, it was a lot smaller town back then."
Over the years, the parade has become a tradition. One that Anderson has been looking forward to passing on to his 2-year-old son, Will.
"This is his first parade in Kalispell," Anderson said. "It's one of those things that you want your kids to do and see. That's what this year is all about for him, is to learn safety, and gathering up candy and doing all the fun stuff you do at a parade."
Anderson said he hopes his son will take away lasting memories as he grows up.
The parade was also a learning experience for Abbie Jones, who said she thought it was a good visual way to show her kids what the day is all about.
"My 10-year-old, it's great for him because he's starting to learn more about government and more about what's going on with American history," Jones said. "He's really into the military right now, so he gets to learn why we have a military."
Besides the parade, many people also came to Depot Park for a memorial ceremony.
"It's a good focal point for Kalispell," military veteran Bob Starks said. "It's a good addition to the city and I'm proud of it. It means a lot to me being a veteran to honor those who didn't come home."
While the Kalispell's biggest Independence Day events wrapped up by late afternoon, they're sure to leave a last impression on many.
Hundreds of people also attended a free Picnic in the Park concert this afternoon, following the memorial ceremony.