Local residents paid "Tribute to Our Troops and Veterans," following the theme of the Gahanna Lions Club July Fourth Parade.

Leading the patriotic-themed parade were grand marshals Jack Bridges, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4719, Marti Bridges, auxiliary president of the VFW Post 4719, and Jack Steinhausser, commander of American Legion Post 797.

Not far behind was a large showing of members of the Gahanna Lincoln High School Golden Lions Marching Band, playing patriotic music.

Dublin's Gary Warchock participated in the parade with Eastside Community Church, dressed as a continental soldier from the American Revolutionary War.

"Everything is authentic," he said of his uniform. "I'm part of the Brigade of the American Revolution, a national group. I'm with the Delaware Regiment. I go to encampments and historical places to educate people."

Ron O'Leary of Eastside Community Church said he was in charge of the church float, but it was a group effort.

"We're small, but have a 90% volunteer rate," he said. "The idea was to honor veterans, not only today, but those who sacrificed and fought before."

Bexley's Jack O'Connor appeared as Uncle Sam on the patriotic float that featured rockets and red, white and blue balloons.

"We try hard," he said. "Last year we had cardboard and the rain turned everything into soup."

The church honored the parade's theme by having every branch of the armed forces represented on its float.

"It's a labor of love," O'Leary said. "We appreciate our veterans."

Charles Culp, a U.S. Navy veteran who served from September 1950 to July 1954, participated in uniform as part of the active-adult-seniors float from Gahanna Parks & Recreation.

"I've lived within two miles of Gahanna on Claycraft Road my entire life," he said. "This is my third year in the parade with the seniors."

He said he also belongs to VFW Post 4719.

Westerville's Nick and Elizabeth Vantangoli wrapped themselves in red, white and blue leis to ride bicycles with Gahanna's Bicycle One.

"One of her friends is friends with the owner," he said. "We're riding bikes."

Reynoldsburg resident Rick Stelzer, originally from Gahanna, rode his customized recumbent tricycle in the parade with Bicycle One.

He said his parents still live in Gahanna and he works in Gahanna.

Gahanna resident Monica Bolte said this marked her first time participating in the parade with Full Armor Bikes of Shepherd Church of the Nazarene.

She was joined by her granddaughters, Thea Bolte, 3, and Heidi Bolte, 7 of Texas, and their aunt, Kelsey Stephenson of Reynoldsburg.

A Community Family Day followed the parade at Creekside Park and Plaza, with live music on the Rotary Stage, family activities and food trucks.

The day's festivities concluded at the Gahanna Municipal Golf Course, 220 Olde Ridenour Road, with fireworks.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla