Beaumont community celebrates July 4th holiday in style

Wearing red, white and blue glasses with “USA” written across the top, Megan Hayhurst watched with pride as her “quaint and charming” community celebrated the July 4th holiday in style.

The annual Calder Place 1929 Parade has become something of a tradition for Hayhurst and her son Jet, who have attended for the past five years. As fancy cars and fellow neighbors paraded by decked out in the American gear, the mother and son soaked in the special moment to celebrate with their neighbors.

“I just love that our little community can have something so special and personal… it ’s very important to me to have traditions,” Hayhurst said.


Related: Today in history: Declaration of Independence

The niche neighborhood festival was just the start of Monday’s fun in Beaumont. From morning parades to the flashy finish of nighttime fireworks, city residents celebrated July 4th throughout the day, each taking in the holiday their own way.

City organizers for Beaumont’s celebration expected thousands to show up throughout the day. Last year’s event in downtown Beaumont drew roughly 15,000 people, according to Director of Event Services Emily Wheeler, and although the holiday fell on a Monday this year, similar numbers were expected.

The Calder Place 1929 parade started things off at around 10 am as families gathered outside the Beaumont ISD Administration office. A Boy Scout troop led the pack, which was bookended by band members from West Brook playing traditional music throughout the parade.

In a nod to the neighborhood’s 1920’s roots, a line of Model-T’s decorated with flags and bunting joined the festivities.

The event also included contests for best-decorated vehicles, bicycles, wagons and more. Participants in this year’s celebration broke out the red, white and blue to show their spirit, decorating not just vehicles, but themselves head to toe –or in some cases, head to paws. There’s also a best dressed dog category.

“What a great neighborhood to be a part of,” resident Ryan Broussard said.

By the time the Calder parade was winding down, festivities downtown at the Beaumont Event Center were starting to ramp up. Food and drink vendors set up shop near the event center, offering Southeast Texans just about any flavor they could ask for.

The city has roughly a $ 50,000 budget for the July 4th celebration, which goes toward live music, food, fireworks and more, according to Wheeler.

But it wasn’t just Beaumonters who came downtown for a good time. Woodville native Joe Martinez brought his family down for the celebration, which got started around 5 pm The fireworks show wasn’t until hours later, but Martinez knew better than to arrive late.

He wanted to get a good spot to see the fireworks and didn’t mind wasting some time with a hot dog or a snow cone.

“It can be kind of crazy getting a spot if you don’t show up early, so that’s what we did,” Martinez said with a spoon and a snow cone in his hand. and we always have a good time. ”

Nationally, the holiday celebration took on a solemn feeling as a shooting in a Chicago suburb left a shadow over the day. Six people died and dozens others were left injured by a shooter during a parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

Multiple attendees at Beaumont’s celebration, including Martinez, told the Enterprise they had heard news of the shooting, but it didn’t deter them from coming downtown. A police presence was noticeable in the downtown area but wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a public events such as Monday’s holiday.

Related: 6 dead, 30 hurt in Chicago suburb shooting

As the sun began to set downtown, residents started to settle in for the best part of the night. Fireworks were set to begin at 9 pm, send off into the clear Beaumont sky from a trailer near the Neches River.

“My kids have been ready for this these fireworks all day,” Martinez said as he and his family sat on the blacket they had laid out hours earlier. “It’s the perfect way to end things.”

Photojournalist Kim Brent contributed.

MFaye@BeaumontEnterprise.com

Twitter.com/mattGfaye

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