July 4th may have been in the middle of the week, but cities in Ralls and Monroe counties had a weekend celebration for America’s 242nd birthday.

“It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

— John Adams on Independence Day

July 4th may have been in the middle of the week, but cities in Ralls and Monroe counties had a weekend celebration for America’s 242nd birthday.

Forget awakening early in Wednesday for work.

The holiday got off to a start on Tuesday night at Perry VFW for a little Mr. and Miss Perry contest, featuring 15 children decked out in their finest Fourth of July attire, while answering questions and doing a show-walk happened with varying degrees of success.

Early on the Fourth, participants lined up at Bill Trower Park for the annual parade, which featured floats, tractors and even a horse-drawn wagon.

Up the road in Monroe City, organizes said the city stage one the biggest parades ever. Staging behind the BP Station, the line of floats and vehicles stretched more than three blocks, past the Lion’s Park.

“It is one of the biggest parades we have,” said parade chairman Connie Painter.

Her comments were echoed by people lining Business 24/36 and Main Street as a long line of floats, vehicles, trucks, tractors, police and first-responder vehicles and several walking groups moved on the route, with participants throwing thousands of pieces of candy to children who came equipped with large bags to store the sweet treats.

“It was great. I was so pleased with the number of people attending as well as those participating in the parade. The people in Monroe City and surrounding area are so wonderful to work,” Painter said.

Painter said everything came together as the parade got underway and there were no problems.

Hassard Elevator entry won first-place in the float competition. The float featured a huge birthday cake decorated in patriotic red, white and blue colors sitting atop a flatbed trailer touting Hazard Elevator’s 100 years of service to Monroe City.

The second place float winner was the entry by Monroe City Manor Care Center. Well-designed Disney characters gave a big “Hats off to all soldiers, past, present and future.”

The Learning Opportunities float took third place in the parade. Along with a sign of happy Disney characters, the float was decorated with several enthusiastic patriots who appeared to be enjoying every moment of the event.

Float winners received Chamber Bucks as their prizes.

Then, at 9:45 p.m., crowds in Monroe City and Paris were treated to a half-hour each of fireworks lighting up the dark night sky.