Portage holds annual Fourth of July parade
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent July 4, 2013 7:20PM
Lana Rivera, 1, with mom Emily Vera, waves as a fire truck containing the Portage High School girls softball team goes by Thursday during Portage's annual Independence Day parade. | Post-Tribune photo
Updated: August 6, 2013 6:23AM
PORTAGE — Kids weren’t the only ones who looked forward to the sirens from police cars and fire trucks during Portage’s annual Independence Day parade Thursday.
“I like all the loud noises,” said Emily Vera, who brought her kids, Landon Alfaro, 3, and Lana Rivera, 1, to the parade for the first time.
The whole family — like so many others at the parade — was dressed in red, white and blue in honor of the nation’s birthday. Vera, of Portage, said she’d put off bringing her kids to the parade before because she was concerned all the sirens would scare them.
“They should be OK. They’ll like it. (Landon) likes trucks and cars now,” she said.
The parade has been a tradition for more than 25 years. In addition to attracting fire and police units from municipalities throughout the county, the parade had more than 80 other entries, including marching bands and community groups, and lasts about two hours.
The parade route stretched from Central Avenue to Lute Road on Willowcreek Road. Folks lined Willowcreek in chairs, some with umbrellas to stave off the sun, and some with water bowls for their dogs and coolers for themselves.
As the flashing lights of police cars headed south on Willowcreek shortly after the parade kicked off, Deanna Ruiz snapped pictures of her extended family as they sat along the curb.
Her group included her mom, her kids, nieces and nephews, and in-laws, some of whom came in from Chicago. Her daughter, a cheerleader, was in the parade.
Except for a couple years when she was on vacation, Ruiz always goes to the parade, and the family has a cookout afterward to complete the holiday tradition.
She enjoys the parade’s community spirit, and seeing so many people she knows. Her kids always see people they know in the parade, including the police officers, who are their friends’ parents.
“My problem is, my daughter isn’t the only one I’m going to know in the parade,” she said with a laugh.