Pride and patriotism were shown throughout Floyd County as folks gathered outside and maintained social distance to celebrate Independence Day.
The streets of Cave Spring were bustling with excitement as the 35th Annual Cave Spring Parade started up at 9 a.m. Organizer and founder Christa Jackson waved to attendees in her traditional Statue of Liberty costume from a boat driven along Alabama Street.
Laverne Pruitt watched the parade with her 3-year-old granddaughter Mary Grace Pruitt and 2-month-old grandson Steven Pruitt.
“We come every year and my kids used to be a part of the parade when they were younger,” Pruitt said.
Mary Grace was most excited for the animals in the parade, particularly the horses.
While the Pruitts have attended every year, this year was the first for the Manning family. Reagan Manning along with her sons, 4-year-old Bear and 10-year-old Bennett, talked about how excited they were to watch the parade and see the policemen and animals.
The parade included clowns on bikes and motorcycles, golf carts, old cars, ponies, fire trucks, dogs and tractors. All of them were decorated in red, white and blue and many people waved flags as they drove down Alabama Street.
Many of those on the parade floats threw out candy for the children.
Later on in the afternoon, people gathered in front of the Law Enforcement Center on Fifth Avenue for the Rome Independence Day Celebration and Citizens’ Parade.
Before the celebration started, folks got the chance to view the Rome Exchange Club’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier replica and displays featuring quotes from founding fathers, presidents and historical figures. Some examples included President James Madison, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Ronald Reagan.
The celebration was opened with a prayer for the country and a rendition of the national anthem.
Several speakers went up to the podium to talk about the cost of freedom, the importance of voting and perform a special reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Randy Smith talked about the founding of the American Republic, going back to the pilgrims seeking religious freedom in the 1600s.
“God bless Rome, Floyd County, the great state of Georgia and God bless America,” Smith said in conclusion to his speech.