For the family of the late John Brennan, serving as grand marshals of this year's July Fourth parade is about more than celebrating Independence Day with the community.
It's about carrying on the legacy of a husband and father, who also served as mayor of Bexley.
Brennan, who died after battling cancer in January 2012, always looked forward to the July Fourth festivities, said his wife, Ann.
"It was one of his favorite events," Mrs. Brennan said. "He enjoyed it immensely."
July Fourth offered an opportunity for Brennan to communicate directly with residents, Mrs. Brennan said.
"He particularly enjoyed the opportunity to talk to people," she said. "In addition to the community events, he enjoyed attending the neighborhood block parties. That was a priority to him. It was an opportunity to talk to the residents and hear their ideas.
" He thought it was a real effective way to communicate with people. That was his style."
John Brennan's public service career in Bexley began with a stint as recreation and parks director from 1972 to 1984. He served on Bexley City Council from 1988 to 1995, serving as president in 1994-95. He was elected mayor in 2008 and was re-elected in 2011.
The Brennan family will have John in their hearts when they wave to friends and neighbors during the parade, Mrs. Brennan said.
"We're honored to be the grand marshals and we thank the Bexley Celebrations Association for thinking of us," she said.
The July Fourth celebration brings the community together, often serving as an impromptu reunion for people who may not have seen each other all year, Mrs. Brennan said.
"It is a wonderful family event, especially the parade," she said. "Everybody is invited to participate."
In addition to the parade, other July Fourth events include:
* The John Barr 5K run, which starts and ends in front of Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave.
The run begins at 8 a.m. July 4, allowing time for participants to finish in time to find a spot to watch the parade.
* The parade of floats and bands begins at 9:30 a.m. at Maryland Avenue and Remington Road and continues for 2.8 miles to Fair Avenue and Cassingham.
* The Community Celebration will be held from 6 to 9:50 p.m. on the front lawn of Capital University, 1 College and Main. There will be family events, music and food.
The celebration ends with fireworks at 10 p.m. Fireworks are launched from the field between College Avenue and Pleasant Ridge Avenue, and several viewing areas will be available around Capital's Campus Center off of Pleasant Ridge Avenue.