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Fort Collins’ annual Independence Day Parade draws international crowd

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Collegian | Alex Hasen

It was a patriotic celebration in Old Town Fort Collins as attendees of all ages lined Mountain Avenue Thursday morning for the annual Independence Day Parade before enjoying a long day of festivities.

“Today’s about recognizing that freedom isn’t free, and it’s awesome to be able to celebrate that, celebrate our veterans and the people that are serving our country today all together as a community” Dana Chollet said. 

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Beginning at 7:30 a.m., the City of Fort Collins kicked off the celebration with the Stars & Stripes Golf Tournament, FireKracker 5k and a special Independence Day Food Truck Rally before the parade started at 10 a.m. 

The parade went along a mile-long route that began at Howes Street and ended near Jackson Avenue at City Park, where the rest of the day’s festivities were taking place. The spectacle was enough to bring in attendees not only from outside of Colorado but out of the country as well. 

Stephanie Malhere, a visitor from Canada, traveled to Fort Collins on holiday, and once she heard about the parade, she decided it would be the perfect family outing.

“It was my first time coming here,” Malhere said. “We’re from Canada, so it’s very different from us but it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it.”

The parade also drew in local politicians like Fort Collins City Councilmember Melanie Potyondy and house candidate Lori Garcia, who were dressed in American flag-themed outfits and interacted with the community. 

Sirens bellowed from city trucks and fire engines, candy flew from vehicles to be scooped up by the many kids who watched from the side and other Fourth of July themed swag were handed to onlookers as the floats marched on. 

This year’s floats included new faces and old local favorites such as The Farm at Lee Martinez Park, Poudre Fire Authority and their Dalmatian mascot, the energetic members of Fort Collins Cheer and Dance Connection and TransFort, which celebrated 50 years of providing local and regional transportation.

“This is actually my first ever parade because we’re not from here, we’re from Scotland. It was really good, the floats were nice, and I liked the cheerleading one the most — they were so cute” attendee Stacey Middleton said.

After the parade concluded, the festivities continued at City Park with trolley rides, a Family Fun Zone, special hours at City Park Pool and live performances by The Swashbuckling Doctors, 2MX2 and Cary Morin & Ghost Dog before the fireworks celebration began at 9:35 p.m. 

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“It’s been awesome, this was our first time coming to the parade, and it was longer than I thought it’d be,” Fort Collins community member Tylor Balistreri said. “There were a lot of cool attractions and it was very festive. We’re excited to chill out, eat good food and listen to good music”

The City of Fort Collins holds their Independence Day Celebration every year to bring the community together and support local businesses and government associations. There are many more reasons to spend the Fourth of July in Fort Collins next year. 

Reach Sophia Masia at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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