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Independence Day parade wows crowd, boosts downtown business
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Turlock Salvation Army Major Debi Shrum and children donned in red, white and blue wave to the crowd during the Turlock Downtown 4th of July parade on Wednesday. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

Veterans, active military personnel, businesses, politicians and more cruised the streets of downtown Turlock Wednesday morning as 12,000 community members lined the sidewalks to watch them dazzle in the town’s annual parade and car show — a tradition that puts a spark in the city’s 4th of July festivities year after year.

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Jeani and John Ferrari serve as the Turlock Downtown 4th of July Parade Grand Marshals. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

The event’s theme of Honor Courage Sacrifice was made evident as veterans took to Main Street on their motorcycles, U.S. Army soldiers waved to the crowd from perches atop military vehicles and appreciative applause met Turlock Police Department officers who led the parade, all a part of over 100 parade entries.

Those who have served or are serving weren’t the only ones in the parade, however, from Girl Scouts on bicycles waving red, white and blue to a collection of tractor-riding community members who paid homage to the area’s agricultural roots. Typically, those who enter into the parade are in a stiff competition to see whose float will be named the best, but this year, no awards were given for the best entries according to Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association Executive Director Molly Amant.

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Local Girl Scouts show their Independence Day spirit in the parade. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

“There weren’t too many actual floats this year; a lot of entries were cars from the car show, which were already being judged,” Amant said.

The car show is a large draw for many at the event, and vehicle enthusiasts were treated to a display on Wednesday that included classic cars like Road Runners and Thunderbirds to current collectibles like one Lamborghini that was a popular stop for selfies.

Taking home the top prizes in the car show were six cars: the Mayor’s Award went to Rose Stillo and Tracy Grainger for their 1964 Corvair Greenbrier Van, the Fire Chief’s Award went to TFD, Inc. for their 1938 Chevrolet Fire Truck, the Police Chief’s Award went to David Allington for his 1968 Camaro, Best Truck went to Don Wenstrand for his 1956 Ford F-100 pickup, Best Car went to Vern Silva for his 1957 Chevrolet 150 Business Coupe and the Director’s Award, or Best of Show, went to Juan Lopez for his 1965 Impala convertible.

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Best Car went to Vern Silva for his 1957 Chevrolet 150 Business Coupe. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

Winners of the car show weren’t the only ones who found success on Wednesday, either, as plenty of downtown Turlock businesses stayed open on the holiday and reaped the benefits of a packed event.

According to Amant, Hauck’s Bar & Grill made over $5,000 in sales and stayed open until 4 p.m. rather than 2 p.m.

“They were so busy at 2 o’clock that they didn’t want to close down,” Amant said.

The Udder Place allowed patrons to rent out patio tables to watch the parade as it passed by, and Amant said that the bar was “overflowing” with activity. At Crust & Crumb, the restaurant ran out of the breakfast burritos it was serving, and Lori Smith of Main Street Antiques said that the shop had a “great day and great sales.”

“I think it’s really great for the businesses…having the diversity of people that come downtown is a great chance to showcase your business,” Amant said. “A lot of businesses don’t want to be open on the fourth, but a lot of the shops downtown stay open because of that exposure.”