MIDLOTHIAN — Thousands of Midlothian residents celebrated July 4 at the annual Independence Day Parade through downtown Thursday.

Special Events Coordinator Gina Moore said this year’s parade received one of the highest attendance by Midlothian residents.

“It was more packed than last year or a few years,” Moore said. “The Midlothian Community Development Corporation bought 1,000 U.S. flags to hand out to all of the spectators this year. They only made it to the intersection of 8th Street and Avenue F before they ran out.”

The celebration opened with a community prayer by Mayor Pro Tem Joe Frizzell and singing of the National Anthem by Midlothian High School choir freshman Chad Pena, son of Sargent Richard Pena.

“We’d not had those two additional aspects as part of the parade in the past, but they’re definitely going to continue to be a part of our annual tradition,” Moore said. “The crowd cheered after the prayer and anthem.”

The floats picked up and ran with this year’s Grand Old Flag theme, decorating with red, white and blue colors and U.S flags.

“Most of the floats did a wonderful job decorating with flags, vivid colors, streamers and balloons for the theme,” Moore said. “Especially the tennis association and boy scouts came out in ‘grand’ style. This year’s theme definitely made the parade.”

Though this year’s wet zone was quite dry compared to previous years, the fire department heated up the parade with their hot new fire engine and 1918 Ford Model-T Howe fire truck.

“Our new Fire Marshal Kevin Lucia drove the Model-T with Mayor Bill Houston riding along,” Moore said. “And right behind the Model-T was our new fire engine driven by Chief David Schrodt with our grand marshal Ellis County Judge Carol Bush. She said it was actually her first time to ride in a fire engine.”

Bush chose the Faith Home Learning float for the Grand Marshal Award. The Park Advisory Board awarded its Judges Award to the Midlothian Girls Softball Association float, and the Best Decorated Bike went to the T.J. Fabby motorcycle float.

The floats looped around Kimmel Park where more spectators set up to watch the parade, before it ended at the intersection of 8th Street and West Avenue E.

Follow Aaron on Facebook at Facebook.com/AaronSchwadererWDL and on Twitter at Twitter.com/AaronSchwaderer. Contact him at 469-517-1456 or a.schwaderer@waxahachietx.com.