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Answer: They were all present at a great small town 4th of July parade, yesterday.  We took our circus-sideshow of a family on a quick trip to meet up with one of Hubby’s brothers and his family at their vacation home for some good, old-fashioned small town 4th of July celebration.  Here’s a glimpse of the festivities:

My in-laws are in town for a week, and my boys couldn’t be more excited to spend time with their cousins.  While my other boys need a few minutes to “warm up” to our family after not seeing them for awhile, our gregarious Son #3 does not.

Son #3 will talk to anyone that will give him an audience, but my niece is his favorite target companion.

This particular parade begins in one town and ends in another. We were in the ending town, so the boys amused themselves for 20 minutes or so after the scheduled start time, before seeing any action.  Once we heard the fire truck sirens, all of the kids in the crowd ran to the street.  You’d think they just wanted a better view of the parade, but no–they knew that candy was going to be tossed their way. Lots of candy!

Being the veteran, my niece explained her candy-nabbing strategy: wave and cheer.

Son #3 is an expert when it comes to waving and cheering.

Because I’m an emotional sap moved by everyone’s show of patriotism, the military vehicles are always a parade favorite.

My boys get a kick out of the all of the classic cars. It’s a testosterone thing. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the occupants were throwing candy at them.

And beach balls, and t-shirts, and other fun stuff.

With all the vehicle and loot-tossing distractions, I thought I’d try to sneak up behind my camera shy Son #2 and snap a self-portrait of us together. He eluded me.

That is until I gave him the all-clear to munch a tootsie roll.  I swear that by the time Son #2 is grown, the only pictures we will have will be of him stuffing his face.  File that into the we’ll-laugh-about-it-later category of Life.

Then I noticed my Baby and his Daddy. There is not much sweeter on this earth than a daddy holding his son.

The crowd roar brought my focus back to the parade. They were going nuts because this septic pumper truck was tossing rolls of toilet paper. Toilet paper! Hilarious!

The hilarity continued with a group that called themselves The Insane Royal Wedding Party.

Here’s Prince Charles and Pippa greeting their peeps.  I knew it was Pippa because the paper plate taped to her hiney told me so.

The Queen walked gracefully in front of Wills & Kate in the procession. I missed my shot of the happy couple because they were swarmed by the crowd, which just goes to show that even Royal-impostors have fans.

The Royal Baker brought up the rear of the procession, and tossed Twinkies to the crowd.

No small town parade is complete without a kazoo band playing “God Bless America.”

Or one of these…a truck so big that I needed two shots to capture it.

This truck was also quite popular.  The peeps at Cherry Republic handed out cherries.

After collecting their cherries, it goes without saying that everyone whooped it up for this guy representing our great farmers.

The parade was capped off by easily the best rendition of our National Anthem that I have ever been blessed enough to witness.  The pint-sized singer had a voice well beyond her years, with which she belted out every note without a single flaw. It was awesome.

Thanks for tagging along on our small town celebration.  I hope y’all enjoyed a fun-filled, patriotic Independence Day!