Fourth of July neighborhood traditions continue in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) –Topeka-area neighborhoods continued Fourth of July traditions on a red-hot Monday with parades, picnics and bands playing patriotic music.

In Topeka, several of the larger parades included those in the Potwin, College Hill and Collins Park neighborhoods.

People looked for shady spots as they watched the Collins Park Parade, which started around 11 am near SW 15th and Collins.

Many neighborhood residents say they wouldn’t think of missing the annual affair.

Haley Guerrero and Madeline O’Leary-Worsley, both of whom will be juniors this coming fall at Topeka High School, said they live in the Collins Park area and enjoy coming to the Fourth of July parade each year.

“I’ve been here like since I was little,” O’Leary-Worsley said. “Like, I’ve come to every single one.”

She said she especially likes the bagpipes that play each year in the parade.

Guerrero said she was glad to see the neighborhood coming back together again after COVID-19 precautions prevented some gatherings.

“Everyone’s in a good mood,” Guerrero said. “It’s just fun to be out here. Everyone seems to be having a good time, and they’re with their families.”

The Potwin neighborhood parade got underway around 10 am at SW 3rd and Greenwood.

Jerry Monasmith, a Potwin resident, said the neighborhood’s Fourth of July celebration started Friday and continued over the weekend to Monday.

He said the Fourth of July was a chance for people to come together: “We can share our differences but we can still celebrate this holiday today.”

Chris Reynolds, the Potwin neighborhood mayor, was dressed up once again as Uncle Sam for the parade. He said he started dressing up as Uncle Sam a few years back.

“Now,” he said, “it’s my role as mayor to do Uncle Sam in the parade every year.”

He said the Potwin Fourth of July parade dates back around 70 years.

The College Hill neighborhood parade also started around 10 am near SW 13th and Boswell.

Erin Snethen, a volunteer and organizer of the parade, said she has always enjoyed celebrating the Fourth of July and now wants to ensure others can enjoy Independence Day in the neighborhood.

“Fourth of July was a big part of my growing-up,” Snethen said, “and so I wanted the same thing for my son and for our neighbors and their kids and their families.”

Christi Stewart, College Hill Neighborhood Association president, said it’s important to keep the tradition alive.

“Oh, we’ve got to keep this one going,” she said. “It’s so fun –we’ve raised our kids doing this, and so we’ve got to keep this one going.”

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