WEIRTON - The sights and sounds of America filled Weirton's Main Street Friday morning as the community celebrated Independence Day with its annual parade.
With a theme of "Independence Day - Red, White and Blue," hundreds lined the street, many of them getting there early to pick out a good spot to watch as local marching bands, floats, dance schools and cars made their way through town to observe the nation's birth and pay tribute to its military.
"We have about 69 entries," Parade coordinator Kevin Elias said.
RED, WHITE AND BLUE — Decked out in red, white and blue, Hancock County Savings Bank was represented Friday with a float ridden by employees and their families during Weirton’s Independence Day parade. -- Craig Howell
TRIBUTE — This group of children, part of Cub Scout Pack 334 in Weirton, paid tribute to the nation’s military holding signs with the names and photos of some who have served. -- Craig Howell
FLOATING — The employees of First Choice America credit union and their families were among those celebrating the holiday Friday, riding a float featuring a reproduction of the Liberty Bell along Main Street. -- Craig Howell
Local businesses, including Hancock County Savings Bank, First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort, entered professional-grade floats this year, many decked out in red, white and blue or featuring symbols related the the nation's history.
Dance schools performed routines to patriotic music while members of local veterans organizations made their way down Main Street.
One new feature in this year's parade was the inclusion of some local bands who were taking part in the Band Blast competition later in the day.
"We have all three bands that are performing," Elias said.
Led By Mercy, the Semi-Supervillains and the Lo-Fi Project all performed while riding in the back of pickup trucks going down Main Street.
Musical entertainment also was provided by the marching bands from Weir and Brooke high schools.
Also included was a Superhero Fun Walk, where children and adults were invited to dress as their favorite superheroes to help raise money for A Child's Place Court-Appointed Special Advocates, an organization which trains volunteers to represent the interests of local children involved in cases of abuse or neglect.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)