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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

It was unseasonably hot (even for summer), but Trousdale County still put on a terrific celebration last week for the Fourth of July.

With temperatures nearing the 100-degree mark and bright, sunny conditions, the annual Independence Day Parade kicked off at 4 p.m.

The procession, which included elected officials, a Trail Life USA color guard, clowns, classic cars and more started down McMurry Blvd. and onto Broadway.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
The Trail Life USA color guard marches down Broadway during the July 4 parade.

Linda Gregory’s family took first place for their horse-drawn wagon, while second place went to Terri Lynn Weaver and her husband Mike, who were dressed as Martha and George Washington. Third place went to the daughters of Mike and Leigh Ann Potts, who pulled their dog Grizzie in a patriotically decorated wagon.

“I officially don’t know what’s hotter than the 4th of July now! What a scorcher!” said parade organizer Amber Russell. “The triple digits kept many away from our parade this year, but our parade participants braved the heat to bring this year’s Independence Day to the town. I’m not sure which melted faster – the chocolate or the people!

“The parade lineup went great this year and I’m so thankful for every person that made it happen, from the entries to the Rescue Squad and law enforcement.”

In addition to the parade and Music in the Park, Foodland sponsored a kids’ coloring contest and a ‘Patriotic Pooch’ contest was held in which pet owners could dress up their dogs for the holiday.

Katie Turner’s dog Lilly, a blonde cocker spaniel, won the pooch contest, while Owen Evitts, Dahlayla Harper and Caitlyn Bush were the top three finishers in the coloring contest.

“It was quite a sight to see all those bright, red white and blue hearts lining the windows of the Foodland store! Foodland was great to sponsor that event with cash prizes for the winners and hopefully we can continue that contest in the future,” Russell said. “We had some pretty sassy puppies along our parade route this year! The Patriotic Pooch contest debuted this year and was sponsored by the Trousdale Litter Program, who graciously donated a ‘doggie bag’ of treats for all the participants. A big thank you to them!”

After the parade, the celebration moved to Hartsville City Park, with food options, booths and live music.

Sean Simmons sang the national anthem, and live performances were made by Cassandra Bates, the Bluegrass Militia and SuperSport.

Other events included a watermelon-eating contest, cake walk to benefit the Band Boosters and a dunk tank.

Mayoral candidates Carroll Carman and Stephen Chambers braved the water, along with Director of Schools Clint Satterfield. The audience bid for the opportunity to dunk each of the three, with proceeds benefiting the Chamber of Commerce’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

Both Carman and Chambers wound up taking a plunge, while Satterfield escaped without being dunked.

The Community Band, consisting of high school band members and band alumni, capped the evening with a concert of patriotic music before the traditional fireworks display to end the event.

“Each year I do this parade, I meet more faces of people who love our town and want to brighten it!” Russell said. “I’m so thankful I’m able to take part. God bless!”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.