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On Centre | Centre Region: Parade a wheel treat for kids on the Fourth

Everybody remembers their first set of wheels.

I’m not necessarily talking about a car. It could be a bike, an old pair of inline skates — even the customary little red wagon, terrific for hauling around your baseball card collection or that pesky younger sibling who can’t quite keep up.

When you’re a kid, wheels are your first step into a bigger world. Suddenly that candy shop a few blocks away doesn’t seem like such a haul. You can go just a little bit farther a little bit faster, not as far or as fast as mom, dad and their fancy automobile, but at this point they’re just lucky you’re still keeping them around.

You have independence.

On Saturday, children will celebrate their freedom in Sidney Friedman Park during the Kids-on-Wheels parade, an elaborate procession of bikes, scooters and strollers all decked out with a patriotic flourish.

“There is a lot of red, white and blue color during that parade,” Beth Lee, recreation supervisor at Centre Region Parks and Recreation, said.

Parade participants have the option of using CRPR-supplied streamers and tape to decorate their rides from 7 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday at pavilion No. 2 in Holmes Foster Park.

It could be a valuable opportunity for riders to gather and brainstorm creative twists on patriotic themes. Previous years have seen wagons decorated as everything from rocket ships to boats, setting a pretty high bar for the scope of youthful imaginings.

Lee said that the parade typically attracts hundreds of people each year, generations of children past who are now bringing their own grandkids.

“Anybody who loves Fourth of July or wants to have a little bit of fun can come and enjoy a great start to the weekend,” Lee said.

The parade will begin at the corner of East Foster Avenue and Locust Lane before ending with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday to US” and helpings of free watermelon in Friedman Park.

While Saturday may be about children celebrating their independence, Lee said that she thinks of the parade and the Fourth of July itself as something a little more communal.

“This really imbibes this whole idea of a community event,” Lee said.

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