In the spirit of flag-waving patriotism, more than 300 people gathered for the 4th annual Liberty Canyon Fourth of July parade Wednesday. Residents marched on foot, bike, scooter, even stroller, all to show their patriotic spirit.
Red, white and blue decorations adorned homes, lawns and street signs as residents assembled along the one square block parade route to cheer on the marching throng. Vintage cars decked out in streamers and banners lead the parade followed by an enthusiastic crowd of youngsters and their parents. Local pets also got into the spirit, sporting decorative bandannas and other patriotic accessories.
With streets boasting such names as Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, United and Defender, the Liberty Canyon neighborhood embodies an authentic slice of Americana, which is what inspired resident and parade co-founder Sheena Stephens.
"This parade started four years ago," said Stephens, who hails from Draper, Utah, "It was the day before, on July third, and I was thinking of the fourth of July celebrations of my youth where my family would do a small town parade. The kids would decorate their bikes and ride through the parade and a local band would play."
Stephens decided to coordinate a similar event in her neighborhood. The first year's parade was very spontaneous. "I told my kids it will probably be just our little family, but we will march around the block anyway," she said.
The poster they placed on a street corner was put up at 6 p.m. on July 3rd, said Stephens, and on the morning of the fourth, a crowd of 50 was waiting to participate in the parade, including a couple of horses. Since its humble beginnings, the event has grown each year.
"There is a parade in Westlake and there are fireworks in Calabasas that you have to buy tickets for, but everything felt so big and overwhelming,” said Stephens. “I wanted something local, very homespun and very casual."
The Liberty Canyon Fourth of July Parade is not an official city event, but it does enjoy the enthusiastic support of the neighborhood. While there was no shortage of people marching in the parade, lots of folks set up lawn chairs in their front yards to watch the festivities.
"It's something that everyone can join in," said Stephens. "We have no grand marshal; we just see who shows up ... it's very organic. Just show up, decorate your bikes and scooters and have a good time."
Resident Cathy Barie came to watch the parade from the sidelines. "This is my neighborhood and these are my people," she said. "We are here to have some fun."