BATAVIA – Long before the first fire engine flashed its lights and let loose a siren wail, parents, grandparents and children lined the streets of Batavia for the Loyalty Day Parade on Sunday.
They stood, sat on curbs or in folding chairs, on blankets with many of the children holding buckets and bags to collect the candy parade marchers would throw.
As each unit of the military marched or drove past, all stood and applauded their appreciation.
This was Carda Cudworth's first Loyalty Day Parade.
"It's very patriotic," Cudworth, of Oswego, said. "It's wonderful, very exciting. Lots of children and families, a warm atmosphere, very positive. They do a very nice job."
She said her daughter, Victoria, would be marching with Emily Laughead of North Aurora, to support Emily's cause – Emily's Hope – which raises awareness about type 1 diabetes.
Several veterans groups and their auxiliaries were represented, including Batavia's VFW Post 1197, as well as posts from Bartlett, South Elgin and Bloomingdale.
Cub Scout Packs and Girl Scout Troops marched between Marilyn's Majors, clad in rose and silver sequined costumes while twirling batons and flags.
Members of the Prairie Gymnastics Club of Batavia did handsprings and cartwheels down the street while the Batavia Park District Batavia Park District's Spirit cheerleader team in black and red demonstrated their skills with red and gold foil pom pons.
Volunteers in bright green T-shirts with "Pretty Tough" on the back solicited donations to pay for the Fourth of July fireworks.
Musical units included Hix Brothers Music of Batavia with its marching guitar band with drum accompaniment and bagpipers in kilts sponsored by O'Brien's Pub and Grill in Batavia.
"It's been very good so far," said Jim Black of Batavia, as he watched the parade from the corner of Wilson Street and Route 25. "The bagpipers are my favorite."