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West Michigan celebrates Independence Day with return of parades

For many communities, this year was the first time a 4th of July parade marched down streets since the pandemic began.

GRANDVILLE, Mich. — West Michigan celebrated Independence Day in style as communities returned to parades after a two-year pandemic hiatus. 

Grandville was one of them, hosting its first Independence Day parade since 2019. 

"It’s so nice to be able to see everyone coming out again, and be able to celebrate," said Melinda Slater. "There’s such a strong community feel."

The parade, which was held at Wilson Avenue, began with a flyover from a WWII vintage aircraft. 

One woman, Ileana Lamberts, brought her grandson to the parade after having drove in from Georgia to be with family for the weekend. 

Credit: 13 OYS
A child waves to Grandville Police in the parade.

"A 13 hour drive," said her grandson Derek Lamberts. "Uncomfortable, but worth it." 

Ileana hopes the parade will help teacher her grandkids what Independence Day truly means. 

"What today means to them means they have freedom to do what they choose to do," said Lamberts. "Freedom of speech, freedom of voting and enjoying the freedom of this country." 

Early 4th of July morning was the annual Hollyhock Lane Parade. It's the oldest Independence Day parade in Michigan and in its 88th year. The parade began as a low-cost way to entertain children during the great depression. 

Credit: 13 OYS
The Hollyhock Lane Parade is in its 88th year.

The festivities began in Kentwood with a pancake breakfast at the fire station followed by a 5k race. 

The Kentwood parade saw streets lined with people ready to celebrate freedom. There was a carnival for children in the afternoon. Evening celebrations continued the fun with live music, a beer tent and fireworks at dusk. 

"I think right now we have to get together more, be one, one nation," said Marge Smith at the Grandville Parade. "This is a good chance for us to come out and celebrate something in common."

Meanwhile at the Grandville parade, sisters Isabelle and Olivia Slater were learning about another American tradition: capitalism. They set up a lemonade and water stand outside their home along the parade route. 

Credit: 13 OYS
Isabelle and Olivia Slater sell lemonade and water to parade watchers.

"We always forget drinks and water," said 10-year-old Isabelle. "We thought if we did that, we would make a lot of money."

The stand was busy during the parade, easily earning the girls spending money for their upcoming Michigan's Adventure trip. 

"It is awesome," said mother Melinda Slater. "They have a great business plan, they put it forward and it’s working out really well."

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