MAYVILLE - Fourth of July is a day usually marked by a few things - barbecues, boats, flags, fireworks and parades - rain not included. Despite an early morning thunderstorm over Mayville, parade spectators continued on with their Fourth of July activities in grand fashion.
Early Wednesday morning, participants began to line up in Mayville for the Grand Parade, which travels directly down N. Erie Street. Floats of all shapes and sizes along with classic cars, horseback riders, fire trucks and bands all gather together to create a spectacular show for attendees.
This year was no different than any other. The street were lined with smiling faces as far the eye could see, with the crowd seeming to stretch on forever. Children waited eagerly next to their parents ready to pounce the moment that the candy started so fly through the air from the floats the crowd.
Fourth Of July
"My favorite part of the parade is the candy," said Madison, a 6-year-old who came to see the parade with her grandparents. "I like to try to get as much as I can when they throw it."
Other children like Connor, an 8-year-old who was at the parade with his parents, were waiting close to the road because they wanted to make the fire trucks honk their horns.
At the head of the procession was Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace, followed by deputies on horseback, members of the local government and a giant group of motorcycles, just to name a few. The crowd cheered as members of area fire departments and law enforcement agencies went by. The parade was shaping up to be the perfect kick-off for Independence Day.
Mother Nature, however, seemed to have other plans. The skies began to darken and shortly after a group of cyclists representing Charlie's BMX rode through the area, N. Erie Street was hit with a downpour. The crowds scattered because of the heavy rain and lightning, but for at least a short time the parade continued despite the weather.
By mid-afternoon, the skies had cleared and the weather had taken a turn for the better. In Findley Lake, several area residents were putting the final touches on their boats for the annual Boat Parade. This year's theme for the parade was "Global National Pride".
Just before 2 p.m., the boats made their way to the tip of the lake for judging. Like something out of a story book, boat number one was fashioned to look like a Viking war ship, complete with a dragon's head as the bow of the boat. Several other interesting entries passed by as well, including boats decorated to celebrate France, England and the United States. One boat even came sailing past with Pilgrims and Indians on board.
As the boat parade came to an end, visitors went to the voting booth where they were able to help in choosing a "fan favorite" of all of the boats that were in the water.
Despite the nasty turn that the weather took on Wednesday morning, this Fourth of July will be one to remember for all of the families that went out to celebrate, whether it was at the parade in Mayville, the boat parade in Findley Lake, or any of the other countless activities lined up to celebrate America's independence.