Southland celebrates the 4th of July

HUNTINGTON BEACH It was one of many celebrations that took place Friday as Southern California paid tribute to America's day of independence.

It's going to be a busy weekend in Huntington Beach. By the time the weekend is over officials expect nearly a million people to pass through the area.

The parade began around 10 a.m. Friday at Pacific Coast Highway and Seventh Street, swung east at Main Street and ended at Gothard Street and Clay Avenue. More than 250,000 people were expected to line the two-mile parade route.

A first-time treat during the parade was the pinpoint landing by three professional skydivers, at Main Street and PCH.

Huntington Beach has been throwing its Fourth of July parade and celebration for more than a century. The parade is billed as the largest west of the Mississippi. The theme this year's bash is 'United We Stand.'

People started gathering very early Friday morning to get some of the best seats along the parade route. They showed their patriotic pride by waving flag and dressing in red, white and blue outfits.

Some say they wouldn't miss the celebration.

"Obviously supporting our country, and our military, and our independence, you know," said parade watcher Michael Punt. "That's the way I see it. It's great to see everyone together, all the Americans celebrating our independence."

"We get here before the sun comes up so we can get a good parking place," said parade watcher Ruth Punt. "We stay until after the fireworks and then we can finally get out of the parking lot. But it's a wonderful way to spend the day."

The three-day Independence Day festival offers live music, food, and lots of family entertainment. The big highlight Friday was a big fireworks display over the ocean that started at 9 p.m.


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