A Fourth of July to remember

Jul. 07, 2014 @ 09:38 AM

When Caldwell County citizens think of Fourth of July, they think about vacation, the history of our country and our independence.

Dottie Lloyd said, “It means celebrating the men who served our country. My husband was one of them. We’ve been married 62 years.”

But, the meaning of the holiday is only half of the celebration. The other half is what you do, and Caldwell County went all out this year in celebrating America’s independence.

At 10 a.m., the Kiddie Kart Parade kicked off the breezy morning in downtown Hudson. Kids of all ages rode scooters, bicycles, tricycles, wagons, motorized cars and golf carts from the Hudson Uptown Building to the McCreary Family Fitness Center, decked out in red, white and blue pinwheels, balloons, flags or clothes.

Isabella Keller, 2, rode in a wagon full of balloons that fell off her siblings’ “big kid” bikes. She was barely noticeable among the colorful balloons, but she made sure to be seen, quietly waving to the spectators gathered on the sidewalk.

One of those spectators was Eleanor Kirby, who has been attending the parade for 26 years.

“I love the parade,” Kirby said. “It’s a great day for the kids. I like that there are more small children because they’ll keep coming back.”

At 4 p.m., Collettsville held its parade, starting from Rocky Springs Baptist Church. Candy was tossed left and right by the bucketful from the fire engines, motorbikes, go-carts and old-fashioned cars cruising by. A group of women on horseback were a favorite with the horses decked in celebratory red, white and blue paint on their hooves and flanks.

To end the day, Lenoir hosted its annual celebration from 5 to 10 p.m. at the Mulberry Recreation Center. Kids raced across the grass in bathing suits, tangled wet hair flying behind them from the many inflatable water slides. Families gathered under the tall trees on picnic blankets with baskets of food. A small game of football broke out on one end of the park, and a pick-up game of basketball began right next door. There were games to win prizes, and you could even give yourself a whole new look by getting your face painted, hair sprayed a different color or a balloon hat.

A blue train was a popular activity, but its wheels kept getting stuck in the spongy grass. Eventually, people in the back had to get out, push and run alongside the train for the rest of their ride.

After dark, fireworks spewed golds, reds, blues, purples and every other color across the dark summer sky. It was a wild spectacle that tied together the perfect weather and activities for a fun Fourth of July.