As Pontiac convertibles and sport utility vehicles eased down East Main Street in Maiden, 2-year-old Colby Frye was having a hard time keeping up.
Decked out in red, white and blue gear from head to toe, Frye rocked back and forth on a miniaturized and toy version of an off-road ATV — trying to get as much momentum as he could to hold steady with the parade.
He was fading backwards, getting tired and becoming frustrated. But just as he was about to give up, a helpful push from his dad sent Frye spiraling forward. A smile shot across his face.
It was Frye’s first time riding in the Maiden Fourth of July Parade Walk, which is what parade director Edith Pirkle said the event is all about.
“The children love it because they have never been able to be in a parade before,” Pirkle said. “I love to see all the smiles on everyone’s faces. It’s just wonderful.”
Pirkle, who will be 90 on her next birthday, started organizing the parade five years ago and said it has grown each year. More than 50 people showed up to walk and ride Monday, including the Honorable Judge and parade grand marshal Nathaniel J. Poovey.
Pirkle said she loves the Fourth of July and has celebrated it for years. She used to live on Lake Norman and had a Fourth of July celebration every year. When she came to Maiden, she realized there was no community celebration, so she organized the parade.
The parade is open to anyone that wants to participate, Pirkle said.
Truitt Beard, former Maiden mayor, said the openness of the parade helps increase patriotism among young Americans.
“I feel that it’s all about patriotism and letting them know this is a good country and a free country,” Beard said. “I think there is a danger in losing that. But when the kids come out and participate, it’s something they will always remember.”
Beard also participated in the parade, picking up individuals that did not want to walk the whole parade.
Citizens walked and rode scooters, skateboards, golf carts, four-wheelers, motorcycles, horses, vintage cars, wagons, strollers, jeeps and convertibles. Awards were also given out for the best child costume, adult costume, vehicle and all-around outfit.
Pirkle said individuals as far away as Williamsburg, Va., participated in the parade.
“I just love the Fourth of July and love to celebrate,” Pirkle said. “I hope we continue to do it for years.”