|Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier|
Kids sport patriotic costumes during the Kiwanis Kiddie Parade in Prescott Friday. Visit dCourier.com for a photo gallery.
|71st Annual Kiwanis Kiddie Parade in downtown Prescott, Ariz. on June 29, 2012.|
The Daily Courier
A group of Prescott High School Pride of Prescott Marching Band members played "God Bless America" to kick off the 71st annual Kiwanis Kiddie Parade Friday, and it turned out to be an apt theme song.
Colton Gunning, 12, of Prescott dressed as Captain America and said this was his fourth year in the parade.
"I like Marvel Comics, he's my favorite person, and he's American, so I thought he'd be best for the Fourth of July parade," said Colton, noting the jacket and boots he wore came from his grandfather. "I stayed up late last night working on my helmet."
More than 550 children dressed in Western gear and patriotic clothes marched in the parade sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Prescott.
Gabby, 8, Sophie, 7, and Jack Venezia, 4, dressed in red, white, and blue, rode their bikes decorated with streamers, stars, and flags, while their grandparents carried a "Happy 100th Birthday Arizona" banner, and their parents pulled a wagon with a model birthday cake inside.
On the back of the banner Gabby wrote, "My favorite thing about Arizona is it's hot so you can swim all summer."
More children take part in the parade each year, and "this is our way to say thank you to the community for their support during the auction," said Kathleen Gillis, publicity chair for the Kiwanis Club of Prescott.
Jennifer Williams stood with her daughter Cadence, 5, 18-month-old son Gavyn, and their friend Trace Harper, 2, next to a covered wagon with a large stuffed horse and a sign reading "Save a horse, ride a cowboy."
"They're very excited," said Williams, who noted the children were taking part in the parade for the first time.
Veronica Phillips said she remembered marching in the parade when she was a youngster as made sure her son Max, 14 months, was ready to go.
"His grandpa was in this parade when he was a little boy about 60 years ago," said Danielle Hampton, there with her son Henry Hampton IV, 19 months.
Cub Scout Pack 6 provided a color guard and held signs for each category before the parade. Then came a troop of Girl Scout Daisies, children in the Prescott YMCA's summer activity program and the rest of the kids, while the YEI drum corps had people walking to the courthouse plaza to their beat.
"We're just having fun being here with our friends," said Darrell Bragg, 12, of Prescott, who was part of the YMCA group.
Prescott Mayor Marlin Kuykendall and Miss Arizona Piper Stoeckel waved as they walked down the streets around the Yavapai County Courthouse.
"I remember lining up to be in this parade when I was little and how excited I was," said Stoeckel, who graduated from Prescott High School. "When the kids were looking up at me when I was judging the (costumed) pets, it didn't quite seem right to me. I was thinking, 'I'm still like you.'"
After the parade, the children enjoyed ice cream sandwiches donated by Shamrock Farms, showed off the ribbons they received for participation, and relaxed with their families on the courthouse plaza lawn.
"The best part about the parade is you get ice cream," said Ava Roberts, 6, of Phoenix, who was dressed as Rapunzel.
As the names of the children who won their category were read, Stoeckel handed out award envelopes to them.
All category winners were invited to ride on the Kiwanis float in the Prescott Frontier Days Parade the following day, Gillis said.
Gillis thanked Prescott police motorcycle officers for riding along to make sure the children were safe; the City of Prescott; Yavapai County for use of the courthouse plaza; Shamrock Farms for donating the ice cream for the children each year; and Kiwanis members for help organizing the event and judging the categories.