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1998 Pekin Fourth of July Parade

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Pekin Fourth of July Parade
A Local Legacy

Most towns have some kind of celebration on the Fourth of July, but only the town of Pekin in southern Indiana can boast that it has the longest continually running celebration in the country. Can you guess when it first started celebrating Independence Day?

The first Pekin Fourth of July celebration took place in 1830. Back then it was just a few firecrackers and a gunshot in the air. Today, this event is so popular that it draws noted speakers including members of Congress, governors, college presidents, judges, ministers, and teachers. The town has only 1,500 people but it grows tenfold during the celebration, with as many as 15,000 people attending.

Programs in the past have featured entertainment and band music, including the "Spirit of 1776 Martial Band." But the real highlight of the Pekin Fourth of July celebration is the great parade. In early years, when many people came in by train, a group would meet the train and the parade would start there. Now the parade is the main event of the day, with novelty cars and trucks, floats of every kind, bikes and horseback riders.

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