HAMMONTON - It was a day to celebrate freedom at Hammonton’s 2nd annual Independence Day Parade.
Hundreds of area residents took the liberty to attend the parade that kicked off on the corner of Egg Harbor Road and ran along Bellevue Avenue to Third Street. The parade featured local officials and organizations, floats, classic cars and a patriotic bike, scooter, wagon and stroller-decorating contest sponsored by the Toy Market.
Before the parade began, decorating contest participant Isabella Giagunto, 8, was excitedly waiting in the gathering area with her decorated bike.
“It looked fun,” said Giagunto when she was asked why she wanted to join the contest. With a little help from her parents, Giagunto decorated her bike with flags, whirligigs and bows. For Giagunto, it was not about winning the contest, it was about “just taking part.”
Dan Cirigliano of Egg Harbor Township and his three sons were attending the parade for the first time.
“My daughter texted me that she was going to be in the parade, so we decided to come and watch,” said Cirigliano.
His daughter, Alexis, is a part of the Oakcrest High School Color Guard. Cirigliano’s twin sons, Dan and Matt, 12, were both taking in all that the parade had to offer, However, for Cirigliano’s son Milo, 2, it was all about the trucks.
“Milo is here to see Lexi and the big trucks,” smiled Cirigliano as Milo excitedly pointed at a pickup truck driving by.
“It’s an honor to be here,” said Dave Hann, a member of the Colonel Louis R. Francine Camp No. 7 of The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
Hann and other members of the Colonel Louis R. Francine camp marched in the parade to remind people that American freedoms have come at a cost in blood, sweat, tears and lives lost.
“Independence Day is really important. It’s not just a day to be at the beach. We should pause and really think about what it means,” said Hann.