WEBSTER GROVES, MO –Cub scouts, beauty contest winners, antique cars, clowns, marching bands, and veterans paraded down Gore Avenue past flag-festooned frame houses with oak trees shading thousands of spectators waving and clapping from lawn chairs, blankets and curb grass.
Mayor Gerry Welch rode by in a Corvette convertible, exulting in the small-townness of an annual event that attracts people from Webster and beyond.
“It’s the charm of the community, the graciousness of the parade,” Welch said, “It’s just the atmosphere is so traditional July 4th.”
This year’s parade featured some creative displays. One group was dressed like the Ghost Busters. Some cub scouts wore pine wood derby cars made of cardboard. And Miss Webster waved and smiled to the crowd from the back of a convertible.
Perhaps the biggest crowd pleaser, judging by the applause, was the army truck with Battle of the Bulge Veterans. Gene Harmack landed at Omaha Beach and fought in the Battle of the Bulge to the outskirts of Berlin. He was moved to tears by the crowds standing to clap as he passed by.
“It means a lot. It’s wonderful. People are so nice to us. They really are. I appreciate it very much, very much, Harmack said.
After the parade the crowd was invited to attend the Webster Groves Lion’s Club carnival at Interstate 44 and Elm. Organizer Kim Pepple compared it to the musical Brigadoon.
“Once a year we transform a baseball field and soccer field into a carnival and spectacular all-American event,” Pepple said, “And then it disappears for 360 days.”
The carnival includes fireworks on the 4th of July with rides, games, food and drinks through Saturday night.