ALPENA - The streets of Alpena had a patriotic feel Wednesday, where people gathered from all over Michigan and out of state to take part in Alpena's Fourth of July festivities. The celebration took place all day, but crowds of people anxiously waited for the traditional Fourth of July kickoff event to start.
The annual Fourth of July parade drew crowds of people to Alpena, starting at the fairgrounds and continuing throughout downtown and its surrounding areas. People happily packed together for one of the main events and downtown was busier than ever with floats, music, balloons, candy, and a sense of camaraderie with people of all ages enjoying the atmosphere.
"We travel somewhere different every year for the Fourth of July. We love seeing the different parades. Alpena's great, it's nice and clean and the people here are really friendly," Kelley Motzny of Holly said.
News Photo by Emily Siegmon
VFW Post 2496 marches during the annual Fourth of July parade Wednesday in Alpena.
Motzny said her family traveled to Alpena with a goal in mind - to see every lighthouse in Michigan. She said they also took time to spend a day at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
"We went on a glass-bottom boat tour and absolutely loved it and would love to do it again," Motzny said.
After watching the parade the Motzny family is planning on further exploring Alpena and do some "serious shopping."
Alpena Fourth of July Parade results
1. Alpena Child Care and Development Center
2. Cub Scouts Pack 3078
3. Wings Over Alpena
1. Neiman's Familiy Market
2. Tendercare Alpena
Peter Thompson and his family traveled from Nashville, Tenn., to spend the Fourth of July in Alpena to honor his father who died last year.
"My dad lived here near the beach. Our entire family came together from New Mexico, Florida, all over to be here to spread his ashes. He really loved the Fourth of July," Thompson said.
The Thompson family planned on honoring their father's love of the area and the holiday while enjoying different activities including the parade, fireworks and the sandcastle contests at the beach.
Patti Peterson of Hillman did not have too long of a drive, but said she always wanted to see the big parade.
"I thought it would be nice to come out and see the parade, have lunch and do some shopping," Peterson said. " It's a good time to recognize our veterans and all those who serve. It makes everyone realize how important freedom is and how lucky we are."
Alpena resident Candi Houchin said she planned on spending the day with her family, watching the parade, stop by the Maritime Festival, and watch the fireworks.
"My favorite thing about the Fourth of July is spending time with my family. I love watching the fireworks and having healthy dinners with my family and friends," Houchin said.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.