Fourth of July rouses spirits in Arlington | SLIDESHOW

ARLINGTON — The afternoon of July 4 touted plenty of spirited festivities in downtown Arlington, including the town's first "Old Fashioned Fourth" in Legion Park, an event devised by the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce to fill the gap between the morning activities at Haller Park and the Kiddies and Grand parades in the afternoon on Olympic Avenue.

Chamber Vice President Julie Morse estimated that the new event saw at least 100 people circulate through the park during its first hour, after kicking off at noon. A number of attendees were Marysville residents making their first visit to Arlington's Fourth of July celebrations, including Chelle Nuttall, whose son Liam made oversized soap bubbles with a hula hoop in a wading pool, and Charice Maxmean, whose nephew Isaac Sasuman won prizes at nearly all the games at the Old Fashioned Fourth.

"I love the small-town feel of it all," said mom Tomya Caponey, who moved to Arlington in May from California.

"This is set up really nice for the kids," said Michael Graham, as he slathered son Karter with sunscreen. Michael grew up in Arlington and now lives in Marysville, but that hasn't kept his family from returning to his old hometown for the Fourth of July for nearly half a dozen years. "He's looking forward to getting candy in the parade, while I like to see the old vets."

Before the Grand Parade could kick off, the Kiddies Parade proceeded along the same route, boasting a lineup of nearly two dozen entrants this year, including the five children of the Mucklestone family, who came dressed as Tin Tin and his supporting cast from the Belgian comics.

"We're all fans of the comics," said Rosie Mucklestone, who dressed as one of the Thomson twins. "We loved them even before the movie came out."

Donis Chopelas and her niece, Heather Gallagher, sported butterfly costumes and a large wooden butterfly on wheels that Heather rode, but it wasn't the first year for that butterfly in the Kiddies Parade, which was previously ridden by Chopelas' daughters nearly 20 years ago, and Heather's other siblings in the years since then.

"It's a family tradition at this point," said Laura Gallagher, Heather's mom.

Grand Marshal Kody Cunningham, a fifth-grade student at President's Elementary with cystic fibrosis, was proud to show off his custom-fitted uniform as Arlington's Police Chief for a Day, but was also a bit nervous about being seen by so many attendees of both parades, even with Arlington Police Chief Nelson Beazley's encouragement.

"It's a little stage fright, but I'll get over it," Cunningham said. "This is such an honor."

The spectators for the fireworks show in the skies above the Arlington Boys & Girls Club that evening included Brian and Ann Beckley, their daughter Briann and his mother Bonnie, who sat under blankets in the flatbed of their truck.

"Not a lot of towns still do their own parades and fireworks for the Fourth," said Brian Beckley, principal of Arlington High School. "For the parades, you should set up your chairs early on the north end of Olympic Avenue, where they start, because by the time they get to Legion Park, they'll have run out of candy."

"I look forward to Arlington's Fourth every year," Ann Beckley said. "It's a small-town tradition."

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