Tens of thousands lined one of Dunwoody’s main thoroughfares on July 4 to watch as everyone from the governor to a group of self-styled pirates parade through town.
The Dunwoody Homeowners Association’s annual Independence Day parade, which the DHA claims is the largest in Georgia, included politicians, scouts, displays from churches and businesses, marching bands, a potato as big as a yacht and sheep.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, the parade’s grand marshal, rode in a convertible at the head of the two-hour parade. Members of the Atlanta Pirates and Wenches Guild followed, most of them walking, about an hour later.
Other participants negotiated Mount Vernon Road on horseback, on foot, in antique cars, in electric cars, on bicycles, in fire trucks, in ambulances and other emergency vehicles, in go karts, in decorated golf carts, in a truck towing a boat and in garbage trucks. The Dunwoody High volleyball team played volleyball, complete with a truck-towed net, as they marched down Mount Vernon.
Howard Kornfield watched the parade with his 13-year-old granddaughter, Maria Rodriguez. Kornfield said he’s been coming to the July 4 event since its early days. The DHA held its first parade in 1976 and continued for five years, the organization says on its website. The parade started again in 1991 and has continued as an annual event since, the DHA says.
“I live about a mile from here,” Kornfield said. “It just seems like I’ve got to come [to the parade]. I asked my granddaughter if she wanted to come and she said, ‘Are you kidding? It’s a tradition.’”
Maria agreed: “We started when I was 8. I’m 13 now. It’s a tradition. We do it every year.”
Like many other members of the crowd – which DHA board member Bill Grossman estimated would top 30,000 – Michelle Carden of Brookhaven and her children were decked out in red, white and blue.
Other parade-watchers wore clothes bearing images of the U.S. flag, or clothes decorated in red, white and blue, or waved small American flags as they cheered the paraders. Some marchers handed out candy or water to the crowd.
Carden said she brings her young daughters to watch the parade every year. “The kids love it,” she said. “And the candy. They love the candy.”