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Patriotic procession delights
Spirits, turnout high for annual parade
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Stanley Pirkle rides the city of Cumming's steam engine as the annual July Fourth procession makes its trek through town. - photo by Jennifer Sami


Jennifer Constable has been coming to the Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine Parade in Cumming for 25 or 30 years.


She was back Monday morning, joined for the annual procession by a crowd of hundreds lining Tribble Gap Road.


“I come for my kids,” Constable said of the July Fourth tradition, before perhaps summing up the mood of the morning.


“It’s the atmosphere. It’s home here. We’ve always done it.”


It’s the same way for Alberta Boulware, who hasn’t missed one of the parades since moving to Forsyth County in 1973.


Monday, she brought her neighbor, Gloria Roberts, to experience it for the first time.


“I just enjoy seeing the parade and I know a lot of the people and the people who do the engines,” Boulware said.


Roberts, who has lived in Forsyth for three years, said she came because of Boulware’s invitation.


Well, that and “I just like parades,” she said.


So does 7-year-old Ethan Campbell, who said he was most looking forward to seeing the steam engines.


According to his mother, Susan Campbell, this was their first year celebrating Independence Day in Cumming.


“We were looking for a Fourth of July parade and this is the closest one we found. It’s the only one around actually,” said the Alpharetta resident, who was also looking forward to the engines and music.


The 54th annual steam engine procession started off with a salute from a military guard.


A bagpipe marching band preceded the Cumming City Council float, complete with Mayor H. Ford Gravitt tossing candy to spectators.


Organizations such as the America Legion, Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta also took part.


Parade-goer Clara Helen Butler, 7, said she enjoyed collecting the candy thrown from the floats. Her favorite part, though, was something different.


“You get to spend time with your family and you get to just have fun,” she said.