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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Neighborhood spirit abounds at annual Fourth of July parade on Spokane’s South Hill

UPDATED: Tue., July 4, 2017

Nearing the end of the annual neighborhood Fourth of July parade, Bridget Piper made a last-second decision.

She diverted the route.

“Let’s go down to the lemonade stand, just for a minute,” she called out to the 30 or so participants who had wound a short route near Cliff Park among grand, historic homes and towering ponderosa pines.

A block off the route, the parade paused as marchers bought lemonade and chocolate chip cookies from Olivia and Maddie Owen, ages 7 and 11.

The parade started at 10 a.m. at Wall and Lincoln streets as it does every year. It requires no blocked roads or police escorts – just neighbors. Costumes are optional but generally encouraged.

Sara Devins wore a hat her father-in-law used in World War II. Her husband, Charlie Gurche, wore a fuzzy purple drum major hat and picked a banjo as he strolled the route. They are longtime parade participants.

“You don’t look red, white and blue,” Devins told her husband. But she conceded, “You look festive.”

Piper started the parade in the late 1970s and has organized it ever since. Her husband, Paul Piper, usually leads the parade with a garbage pail he pounds as a drum. This year, however, he had a real drum.

Bridget Piper passed out kazoos to the children, and tooted Yankee Doodle through her own. Afterward, the Pipers hosted marchers back at her home for chocolate doughnuts, doughnut holes and ice pops.

Leanna and Ryan Arneson came with their son, Lochlan, who’s about to turn 2, and daughter, Dotsie, 4.

“We make it a priority to come,” Arneson said. “It’s a really good way to meet your neighbors.”

Carol and Brian Miyamoto walked the route with their dogs, Bentley and Mochi, who were adorned with red, white and blue ribbon.

“It’s fun to see everybody and the kids and the dogs,” Carol Miyamoto said.

At the end of the parade, as usual, was Evelyn Creager, driving her green 1953 MG TD.

“I bring up the rear. My exhaust fumes are not pleasant to behold,” explained Creager, who has participated since the late 1970s.

Tori and Drew Sullivan walked the parade with their son, Stone, riding his father’s shoulders much of the route. They opted against swimming so they could participate for their third straight year.

“It feels like you belong in the neighborhood,” Drew Sullivan said.

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