Parade goers smiled and waved at their neighbors, friends and fellow Americans making their way along a two-mile route through downtown Scottsburg Saturday morning. It was a moment of community togetherness in celebration of Independence Day.
“Seeing the fire trucks, the American Legion with the color guard, and everybody waving American flags — it’s very patriotic,” said Kelli Douglas, parade organizer and president of the Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department. “The parade is a tradition. It’s a staple in the community.”
The Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department brought back the Fourth of July parade to the small Halifax County town after a several-year hiatus. The turnout for this year’s parade exceeded organizers’ expectations. Countless families lined the streets of Scottsburg as the parade made its way from Scottsburg Elementary School to the center of town, past the post office and the fire department.
The sound of sirens filled the air as members of various fire departments drove their trucks through downtown Scottsburg, heading up the parade. Later the revving of antique car engines could be heard as the members of the Virginia – Carolina Model A Ford Club joined the procession, followed by the click clacking of horses’ hooves, as horseback riders from Shangrila Guest Ranch brought up the rear of the parade.
Hugh Smith, president of the Virginia – Carolina Model A Ford Club, drove a 1930 Phaeton Model A Ford Sport Coupe in the parade. He enjoys participating in the parade with his car club.
“It’s just a hometown parade and everybody’s friendly,” Smith said. “The fire department organizes it, too, and we support our first responders – fire and EMS.”
Butch Blanks, another car club member, looks forward to driving his antique Ford in the Scottsburg parade every year, as well.
“It’s a small-town atmosphere, and people have fun,” Blanks said.
Douglas estimated the parade boasted more than 100 entries.
“We had a wonderful turnout,” Douglas said. “We definitely had more people come out than we expected, and we’re looking forward to doing it again next year with less restraints on us. We’re going to hopefully have live music and some vendors next year, slowly making the celebration back to the way it was (in years past).”
The fire department may have scaled back on plans for this year’s Fourth of July celebration because of COVID-19 restrictions. But judging from the comments of parade participants and viewers, and the glee on children’s faces as they scrambled to catch candy thrown to them by parade participants, the fun was amped up to a high level.
“You see your friends, your neighbors, everybody you know,” said Scottsburg resident John Gibbs. “It shows the community coming together, and that’s something I really love.”
Longtime Scottsburg resident Grace Elliott also said she enjoys coming to the parade and catching up with her neighbors.
“You’re getting together as a community and interacting. That makes me happy,” Elliott said.
The fun continued after the parade ended, with the Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department serving up barbecue plates, delivering orders to folks in their cars drive-thru style to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re so blessed that all these people came out to support us,” said fire department member Tony Bomar, as he scurried back and forth fulfilling food orders. “When you get to see people and talk to them and thank them for coming out, that’s what it’s all about. It’s all about the people.”
Douglas said the fire department had 114 preorders for barbecue plates and sold an additional 86 plates the day of the parade. The Fourth of July celebration typically is one of the fire department’s largest fundraisers of the year.