Isaac Anderson, a Dunwoody High School rising senior, and starting linebacker on the varsity football team, leads his teammates in carrying the flag. (Phil Mosier)

Thousands and thousands of people lined Dunwoody’s Mount Vernon Road to watch the annual 4th of July Parade featuring veterans, marching bands and creative floats made by community organizations.

“It’s like a small town in the big city,” said Tamu Tuboko-Metzger of Dunwoody, attending the parade with her husband, Akin, and their children.

Tamu Tuboko-Metzger and her husband, Akin, at far right, of Dunwoody attended the Dunwoody 4th of July Parade with their children and friends. “It’s like a small town in the big city,” Tamu said of the festivities. (Dyana Bagby)

The family has lived in Dunwoody for eight years and is typically out of town for the Independence Day holiday. This year they stayed home and were able to make it to the parade and walk around the festival area with friends.

“It’s a good time to see neighbors and friends,” Tamu said. “It’s an awesome time.”

Akin said he enjoyed the parade because it brings a community together to celebrate America and the American people. “People from all walks of life are here … just together and having a good time,” he said.

John Thomas, a Dunwoody resident for 48 years, rode in the parade with the Veterans of Foreign War group. He served in Korea in 1951-52.

John Thomas. a 48-year Dunwoody resident, served in Korea in 1951-52. He rode with the Veterans of Foreign War group during the annual Dunwoody 4th of July Parade. (Dyana Bagby)

“It’s nice to see the people and their response to us,” he said. “They’re appreciative and it’s positive.”

The Dunwoody 4th of July Parade was founded in 1976 as part of the nation’s Bicentennial celebrations. It continued for five years under the leadership of the Dunwoody Woman’s Club before ceasing. In 1991, following the Gulf War, the parade was revived, by suggestion of Bill Robinson and Joyce Amacher, as a way to honor returning service members. With the sponsorship of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, the parade has been an annual traditional since that time. The Dunwoody Reporter is also a presenting sponsor.

Attending the parade for the first time was Mackenzie Baines of Buckhead. Her friend and Dunwoody resident Gina Frazee convinced her to come along this year.

“She got me OTP,” Baines said with a laugh. “It’s great. I grew up in Chicago and it reminds me of our local parades … with the bands and the kids. It’s a fun event for families with a local feel.”

“This is such a good time; it’s patriotic, it’s fun,” Frazee said. “And I love the people watching.”

UGA student Duke Leber, 19, of Dunwoody and Bradley Crenshaw, also 19 and from Sandy Springs, were strolling the festival area after the parade.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid,” Leber said. “It’s one of those things that when I’m 80 I want to bring my grandkids … it’s a great tradition to support your country.”

Leber said he also enjoyed seeing the veterans’ faces light up as they are cheered while riding along the parade route.

“There’s nothing wrong in the world when you see everyone so happy,” he said.

Senior Drum Major Dom Bogue leads the Atholl Highlanders Pipes and Drums Corps. at the Dunwoody 4th of July Parade. (Phil Mosier)
Amaya Raidbard, 7, and Mikayla Raidbard, 4, hold their bags out for candy from DeKalb Fire and Rescue Firefighter Petrides during the Dunwoody 4th of July Parade. (Phil Mosier)
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond participated in the annual Dunwoody 4th of July Parade. (Phil Mosier)