TEMPLE TERRACE — If you were to ask most any attendee, he or she would likely tell you Temple Terrace’s recent Independence Day celebration represented what is good about a town. According to City Manager Jerry Seeber, it’s a “treasured gem.”
The 40th annual Fourth of July Parade characterized the city’s overall makeup, and according to several in attendance, enhanced its appeal to dwellers and visitors alike.
As in years past, the parade was a joint effort of the Greater Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce and the City of Temple Terrace.
Included among the 90-plus entrants was its team of law enforcement officers and fire department first responders, the mayor and city council officials, and representatives from community service organizations, churches, schools and businesses.
Some were on foot distributing leaflets, small flags and hand-held paper fans, while others tossed beads from amid open convertible-top cars and a variety of patriotically appointed floats.
University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft, the parade’s grand marshal, along with an entourage that included the USF Marching Band, cheerleaders and a Bull Runners bus, drew applause and whistles from folks with allegiance to the nearby college.
The Temple Terrace Highlanders bagpipe and drum band and a combination King High and Greco Middle school band also entertained the crowd, as did the King’s Lionettes drill squad, the Temple Terrace Ballet team and the Flawless Diamond Dance Troupe.
Scott Wilson, who was raised in Temple Terrace, but now lives in Carrollwood, stood on the sideline with his wife, Sara and their 2-year-old daughter, Julianne, adorned in multiple strands of patriotic colored beads.
“I grew up in Temple Terrace, and even though I don’t live here anymore I still love coming to this parade,” Scott said.
Eighty-three-year-old Ann Simmons, a resident of the city for more than 50 years, remembers back when there weren’t enough residents or schools in the community to make up or support a Fourth of July parade.
But in the 40 years of its existence, she doesn’t recall ever missing one.
“This is what it’s all about,” said Simmons, dressed from head to toe in a red, white and blue outfit, complete with a neck scarf depicting the stars and stripes in the American flag.
“This is Americana at its finest,” she said.
The town’s evening festivities on the first fairway of the Temple Terrace golf course included music by the Cypress Creek Dixieland Band and a performance by Masque Community Theatre, followed by a show of fireworks after the sun set.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.