FAIRFIELD — Two-year-old Gwendolyn Johnson had her own way of amusing herself before the Fourth of July parade began Friday in downtown Fairfield.
She chased the bubbles that Derick Lapurga, 10, was blowing from his dad’s lap. Derick admitted that blowing the bubbles kept him amused while he sat with his sister, Kaira Lapurga, 10, and parents Eric and Binh Lapurga.
“They’re fun,” he said of the bubbles, as he blew and watched the wind carrying them a few families away, right to Gwendolyn, who did her best to catch them.
The Dixon family comes to the parade every year with Eric Lapurga, who, along with his wife, grew up in Fairfield, saying, “If we want to come to a Fourth of July parade in Solano County, we have to come to Fairfield.”
Both husband and wife have been coming since they were kids and are now taking their children to the same parade they grew up with.
“I look forward to the hip-hop people and the martial arts,” Derick said. “And the marching bands, but it depends on how good they are and what they play.”
Kaira remembers a dance group she enjoyed last year, but also likes “to see the businesses showcase themselves on the floats.”
Like thousands of others – elbow to elbow along Taylor and Texas streets – they sat in folding chairs, shielded from the sun by umbrellas. As local law enforcement opened the parade, they settled in to watch the 61 entries come down Texas Street.
Jennifer Babcock sat with her husband and daughters, Gwendolyn, after she settled down from bubble chasing, and Arya Johnson, 1. Babcock said she’s normally in the parade and this is “the first time I’ve been able to watch it.” She admits that her daughters are probably too young to pay much attention to the parade. Except for the horses, she added.
And indeed, the first pair of law enforcement horses that went by, Gwendolyn’s attention shifted to watch the animals.
Various local law enforcement agencies and fire departments got the parade off to a rousing and noisy start with lights and sirens. Floats carrying elected officials and local businesses entertained, as did the quick-moving McDonald’s Go Karts, the horses, a friendly pink dragon from the Chinese American Association and various dance groups.
The parade crowd was decked in patriotic themes from their chairs and clothing, to their dogs. Fairfield resident Ethel Simmons and her friend, Judy Lyons, a Suisun City resident, wore a unique 3D headband with red, white and blue ribbons and the same colored patriotic gauze tubes filled with little lights.
“We always do something red, white and blue but these are a little extreme,” said Lyons, laughing. She added that the headbands are prettier at night when they light up and “twinkle.”
The hair apparel matched their patriotic red, white and blue clothing. They sat in the same place they do every year, in front of Alejandros Taqueria, that they have for a decade waving flags and waving to those participating in the parade.
“We never miss this parade,” Simmons said. “It’s a way to show your love for your country.”
Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.