By JEFF CLEMETSON
For the past two Fourth of Julys, Navajo area residents have had to celebrate Independence Day without attending the popular Lake Murray Fireworks and MusicFest event, which was cancelled last year because of pandemic restrictions and cancelled again this year because those restrictions were not lifted in time to properly fundraise for the event.
So what’s a mom looking for a fun and patriotic event for her kids to do? Start a new tradition — which is exactly what Allied Gardens resident Aubrey Foulk did.
Foulk moved to Allied Gardens in November from the Glenflora neighborhood by Lake Murray where for years her family enjoyed an annual July 4 bike parade.
“We looked forward to it every year,” she said. “My kids were decorating their bikes early in the morning and that’s what’s so great about it — it’s kind of an activity that can get the whole neighborhood together; the kids can get some of their energy out and then you can go along with your day, make plans for fireworks or whatever.”
A few months ago, Foulk asked neighbors in her new neighborhood about July 4 activities and discovered there weren’t any planned for this year, so she “thought it would be fun” to share the tradition she enjoyed in Glenflora with her new neighbors.
“I thought, ‘we have to do this,’ especially since Marvin Elementary is right there and there are so many kids here,” she said.
With the help of SDFD Fire Captain & Community Resource Officer Alma Lowry and Station 31 Captain Jordan Buller, Foulk secured a fire truck to join the parade.
“I want to make sure Station 31 gets some credit because they came, they drove around several times, they honked their horn, they let the kids take pictures — it was really awesome,” Foulk said.
On the big day, over a hundred people showed up to take part in the inaugural event. A golf cart led the parade, then the fire truck, then the kids on their decorated bikes decked out in red, white and blue cruising through Allied Gardens with neighbors on their front lawns waving flags and cheering on the patriotic paraders.
“I was shocked at how many people came,” Foulk said, explaining that she did very little promotion other than putting up a few signs around the neighborhood.
“Next year we can actually plan it really well and it should be even bigger and better,” Foulk said, adding that she’s had multiple neighbors offer to help plan for next year’s parade, which may include some pre-parade activities like relay races, etc. utilizing the fields at Marvin Elementary.
— Reach editor Jeff Clemetson at email@example.com.