Why have one Fourth of July parade when you can have two?
The answer, as revelers who attended either the 25th annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade or Boulder City’s Damboree on Thursday will attest, is that there’s plenty of patriotic fervor and community spirit in the area to fuel two celebrations.
Thousands of revelers packed the streets of Summerlin, gawking at big balloons and tinsel-tinged floats under a cloudless Southern Nevada sky to celebrate the Fourth.
Miniature American flags waved in the air as thundering drum lines booming made their way through the streets.
“There’s not a lot of events where you see people get together just to be happy and gather together and support patriotism, stuff like that, so this is good for that,” said Vincent Patton, who was attending the parade for the second time.
Patton had family come in from Arizona to join his wife and kids for the festivities. He said the Summerlin parade is by far the best community gathering he has seen in the Las Vegas Valley.
“I mean, really, these things are best for kids, just to show them patriotism and kind of teach them a little bit about history,” Patton said.
Vintage car horns blatted, and Ford Mustang models spanning decades drew cheers, as they revved their engines. Crowds chanted, “Go Knights Go!” as a float bearing players Jonathan Marchessault and Ryan Reaves wheeled past.
A 12-foot-tall, star-spangled stovepipe hat balloon tried to steal the show in the middle of the parade by escaping its handlers and flying away. But eyes soon returned to street level.
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The spectator areas were crowded but offered plenty of spaces to stop and watch the dazzling floats and balloons, such as those marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
But Christina Rollf didn’t take a chance on not landing a prime spot. Like many early birds who brought their chairs and canopies to coveted viewing spots before the parade, Rolff staked out her family’s spot on Wednesday night. That no one disturbed her belongings was a plus, she said. “I love that everyone’s coming together and you can leave your stuff out,” she said.
In Boulder City, three major streets began to fill with lawn chairs more than an hour before the parade began at 9 a.m., as residents sprayed sunblock, spread blankets and prepared for a day of cheering at the 71st annual Damboree Celebration.
Girls painted their faces with eye shadow palettes and sat on blankets next to mothers in patriotic Mickey Mouse ears while the sun rose over the mile-long parade route along Colorado Avenue, Nevada Way and Fifth Street.
Kay Williams, a resident of Henderson, also arrived early to get a good vantage point and ensure she got a good view of her grandson on a float with his basketball team.
The parade started with an array of Boulder City Police Department vehicles, accompanied by three mounted officers, and a flyover by the Boulder City Veteran’s Flying Group.
Close behind were Democratic presidential candidates Cory Booker and Seth Moulton marching with their supporters and among contingents backing several rivals for the party’s nomination.
But the highlight of the parade for many was Fifth Street, also known as the Water Zone, which had paradegoers and float-riders alike taking up water guns and buckets to stage a water fight in the street.
Williams was pleased with the show. “It’s the most patriotic parade,” she said.