GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. July 4th festivities kicked off early in Grand Junction with thousands crowding downtown for the annual parade.
Historic clubs, groups of veterans and area businesses decked out in their red, white and blue best to impress the judges and families watching the parade, while also teaching the meaning of Independence Day.
"We just didn't arrive and say, 'Oh gosh we have freedoms.'" said Garry Brewer, of the Sons of the War of 1812 and the Sons of the American Revolution. "Somebody had to pay for it."
The judges evaluated the floats on originality, creativity and interpreting this year's theme, 'America the Beautiful.'
"It's really great the people who choose to come in this parade because they really care passionately about those issues, so they put their heart and souls into their ideas and it's really fun to see how they respond to it," said Harry Weiss, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority.
Vettes for Vets won first place, Wheels West Auto Club placed second and Intellitec College took third.
There were about 25 floats in this year's parade.