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Fourth of July Parade

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When I was a kid, our neighborhood always rallied for a July 4th parade. It was amazing and seemed so official and grand, what with everyone dressing up and such lively stepping along in the middle of the street. It's easy to organize such an event: You only need five people to make it a parade and then the more the merrier!

The parade can be simple - instruct folks to wear red, white and blue and meet on the corner for a 'round the block march - or detailed - as neighbors to decorate their bikes, scooters or wagons (and even pets!) in red, white and blue. Have your family and friends dress in this year's theme of "American Heroes" and meet on the corner to follow the parade marshall (an elected neighbor to lead the brigade).

If you live in an area that has a neighborhood association, enlist their help to get the word out about this year's theme. Othweise, start the tradition yourself by posting signs around the neighborhood. Themes can be anything, ranging from "Around the World" to "Hollywood" or "Storybook Characters." What will you think of?

As for the "parade floats," from experience, I can tell you that if you give kids some crepe paper and tape, they'll know just how to decorate their bikes and wagons. Oh, be sure to pick up some American flags at the store - they come in all sizes.

Add some extra zip to the day by meetings at the local park for Fourth of July challenges like watermelon seed spitting, sack races or flip-flop fling - see how you fare in this feat of how far a flip flop can be flung! Families can set up their picnic blankets to share hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, ice cream and apple pie. It's a classic way to celebrate Independence Day.

Hop to it! Happy Fourth of July!

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