LYNN HAVEN-- Lynn Haven kicked-off the Fourth of July celebrations with the long-standing tradition, the Independence Day Parade.
Several thousand lined the parade route, with the biggest crowds congregating near city hall and Sharon Sheffield Park.
As Newschannel 7's Sanika Dange tells us, many of the residents say the parade is the highlight of their holiday.
Hundreds lined Highway 77 in Lynn Haven bright and early Friday morning to kick off their Fourth of July activities.
"Well we're going to be watching the parade."
"And fishing tournament."
Whether they were walking.
Or bathing down the street, Highway 77 was filled with characters.
Attendees say this annual parade is one of the community's biggest events.
"I've been to this parade every year since i was little so we like the parade."
While many found ways to battle the heat with umbrellas, others lapped it right up.
"It doesn't matter how hot it is outside, everyone's out here trying to grab some of these."
Several organizations participated in this year's parade including the Warrior Beach Retreat, the Shriners, several local fire departments, and 92-5 WPAP.
"What's your favorite part of the parade?"
"So far it's when you get to see all of the stunt motorcycles and the buggies and all that go by."
And while this year's July 4th exceeded everyone's expectations, they're already thinking about next year.
"Every now and again they'll be another float or two."
"I mean it's just tradition, the Lynn Haven Parade. It's just fun."
In Lynn Haven, Sanika Dange, Newschannel 7.
The city selected a familiar face to serve as this year's Grand Marshal.
Lynn Haven Mayor Walter Kelly honored retired army Sergeant Joshua Cope today.
Cope lost both his legs several years ago when an IED exploded under his Humvee, killing 3 of his fellow soldiers.
It happened during Cope's 2nd tour of duty in Iraq.
The Purple Heart Society/Auxiliary, which is a group made up of individuals who have earned that honor serving our country, escorted Cope along the parade route.
"I'm just glad to be here. I feel like I'm one of the lucky ones that I actually get to come back and see my family and hang out with them again," said Retired Sgt. Joshua Cope, Grand Marshal.
Cope is in town visiting his parents for the holiday weekend, before he and his family return home to Orlando.