OVILLA - Residents gathered at the city’s ballpark Saturday to celebrate the city’s 22nd annual Heritage Day.

The festivities kicked off with a parade, led by this year’s grand marshal and volunteer of the year recipient, Dale Helm, who said he and his family enjoyed the parade and the festivities.

“I’ve shaken hands with a lot of people today, some I knew and some I didn’t know,” Helm said, with his wife, Jalayn, adding, “This is just a fun event that our family and everyone else have enjoyed. It’s a beautiful day with wonderful weather.”

Parade honorees included the Helms’ family float for Best in Parade, Republican Women of Ellis County for closest to theme and First United Methodist Church of Ovilla for most original.

“The parade was very nice and I think everyone really enjoyed it,” Mayor Bill Turner said.

This year’s theme was “Make a Difference: Volunteer,” with an aim of recruiting more volunteers in the city.

In spite of the hot weather, Turner said he was pleased with the turnout.

“We’ve experienced a great turnout today from both residents and vendors, plus, it’s good and hot,” Turner said with a laugh. “We’ve got great music all day long, good food and we just hope to continue to see a steady flow of people all day. We’re very excited about it, really.”

Several bands, including the bluegrass Salt Rock Rounders Band, Encounter Band, Cowboy Band of Ellis County and the Texas Prairie Band, also a bluegrass band, provided musical entertainment.

The music is what brought Laura Beattie to the festival.

“I could hear the bands from my house and they sounded good,” Beattie said, saying she attends Heritage Day every year. “I also go to the Founders Day event in Red Oak each year. This event is just a fun time to see your neighbors and friends.”

“I’ve enjoyed the Christian music today,” Melvin Floyd said.

More than 60 booths provided information, foods, and arts and crafts.

“This is my third year participating in the event and I always have a lot of people who come by to ask questions,” said Robin Ponder of Homemade from the Heart. “I have had a lot of repeats and I will come back next year if invited back.”

“This is my second time out because we got rained out at last year’s event,” said Juanita Wesley of Juanita’s Ceramics. “I’ve had a lot of people to come by and look at the items I brought with me today. I’ve enjoyed it so far.”

Activities included bounce houses, a petting zoo, hair coloring and face paintings to entertain the children.

“I’m very pleased with the amount of vendors we have here today,” city secretary Miykael Reeve said. “I’m also very pleased with the turnout we’ve seen so far. There are still people walking around so I’m very happy about that because around this time last year, we were rained out and there were no people and no booths.”

The weather may have been hot, but that didn’t seem to hinder the fun and excitement people enjoyed, with Doyle and Ruth Jenkins saying that “regardless of the weather, we come out each year to support the event.”

Heritage Day festivities are held the fourth Saturday in September.

E-mail Chicarra at chicarra.dense@wninews.com