By PAMELA CODY
Waving American flags and wearing patriotic clothing, more than 200 people gathered on 4th of July morning on the beach at South Padre Island to participate in this year’s annual South Padre Island 4th of July Beach Parade. Adults and children of all ages, along with a variety of 4-legged friends, walked, strolled and rolled from Beach Access #22 to BEach Access #17 to celebrate Independence Day.
The event, headed by South Padre Island Parks & Recreation Manager Mary Kay Hancock, was a tremendous success, thanks to support from organizer Debbie Huffman and scores of volunteers. Observing the festive crowd shortly before the parade began, Hancock commented on the fun, family-oriented event. “We’re so glad everyone’s here. It’s a great crowd and I’m so happy everybody came out on this beautiful day.”
She praised community members, ranging from high-school students to senior citizens, who donated their time to the event. She gestured toward the crowd, saying, “With all these people volunteering, it’s a great start to the 4th.”
Also on hand for the parade was Mayor Barry Patel, dressed in a festive flag-themed shirt and straw hat, who, accompanied by his wife, walked the parade route. He gave a big smile when asked how he was enjoying his first Independence Day Parade as mayor. “I’m happy to be here. I want to wish everybody a Happy 4th and come on down for some family fun. The water’s clear and the weather’s great!” he exclaimed.