Sometimes the overcrowded politically-charged city life (I live in the metropolitan area of Washington, DC) is just too much…..causing you to remember fondly how much fun the 4th of July used to be as a kid!
Perhaps your memories are similar to mine….
We lived on a farm in Indiana and had to travel to a small town for the festivities in our county. I remember my siblings marching in the parade as part of the local high school band. My brothers played the trumpet and trombone and my sister was a head majorette. We marveled at the floats, old cars, dance troops, local sports teams, the Shriners on their little motorcycles, the firemen and police showing off both old and new vehicles as well as many others (yes, the politicians were also there – but just the local ones)!
The town park adjacent to main street (parade route) was big enough for everyone to enjoy a picnic/cookout of hot dogs and hamburgers with all the trimmings, swim in the circular pool and enjoy the carnival rides that came to town each year for the holiday. As nighttime approached, everyone would gather in the baseball diamond where fireworks were set off… big enough to be seen miles away! And if you were close enough you also saw the last fireworks display at ground level which showed the United States flag all aglow. What pride we all felt in our country!! I will never forget it.
Where can you find something similar in the DC area…?
There are small towns in both Virginia and Maryland that could be suggested. But a friend has posted photos of Purcellville on FB in prior years and I’ve always wanted to go….and sure enough they have a 4th of July parade.
Purcellville is about 50 miles west of DC in western Loudoun County. It’s still a small town – just over 9,000 according to the last census and is still very quaint; having grown from its Quaker roots.
As you might imagine – the town’s name comes from the man that ran and later owned the local store back in the early 1800s. His name was Valentine Volney Purcell and the store – even before he owned it was nicknamed Purcell’s Store. He was also the local postmaster so he knew everyone in town.
For those of you old enough…think back to early TV shows like Petticoat Junction or Green Acres and the local store for both was….??? He was also the local postmaster for Hooterville. Comment the store’s name below if you remember…think way back…and don’t blame me if those theme songs are stuck in your head for the rest of the day! 😊
Purcellville was the right choice….to reconnect with my youth!
We arrived in town after a very pleasant drive….and ended up finding free parking at the local bank in the middle of the parade route. We walked just down the street to a local brew pub – the veteran owned and operated Dragon Hops – where my partner John found us two seats and a table on the front patio. Feeling so lucky because the locals were already setting up their chairs alongside the curb and we’d forgotten our chairs or a picnic lunch. The food was fine and the waitress outstanding. Here’s a quick video just to give you a feel….
The families surrounding us were all friendly and sociable and the cheering of the crowds and kids along the parade route brought back memories of yester year! The parade started at 12:30 and lasted at least 1.5 hours. Here’s a few of the shots….
The kids were the most fun to watch as they collected small toys, US flags and lots of candy from those in the parade. They all had their bags ready under their parent’s watchful eyes. I later saw some of them piling “their haul” on tabletops to share with others. One small giving little girl…about 3 years old… kept bringing her father “some of the best” she had collected! Tugs at the heart….doesn’t it!
So next time you need to feel the wholesomeness of the USA or remember your childhood joys, visit the town of Purcellville. Any day is fine to connect with local homegrown values but if you want to see a parade, it’s either 4th of July or for Christmas. Check out their town at https://www.purcellvilleva.gov/736/Holiday-Events-and-Activities
Two suggestions for parade viewing on your trip…..enjoy!!
You just might feel like a kid again!!