PROVO, Utah — A massive crowd lined University Avenue and Center Street to watch the annual Freedom Festival parade.
Organizers of the event estimate about 350,000 turned out for the Fourth of July parade, which is the culmination of one of the nation's largest festivals dedicated to the Independence Day holiday. Provo City said it was a record-breaking crowd.
"Happy birthday, America!" said Congressman Burgess Owens as he rode in a car along the parade route, waving to people. "We love it! Freedom!"
The annual parade features floats from cities in Utah County and community groups, military tributes, marching bands and political leaders.
"We’re blessed to live in a country where freedom is the norm," said Sen. Mike Lee. "And we’re grateful to those who a couple of centuries ago pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor so we could be free."
Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi said the parade is a great way to spend the holiday.
"It’s all about family and friends and getting together and celebrating," she told FOX 13 News as she rode atop a fire truck down the parade route.
This Fourth of July, some have felt more divided than united. But Congressman John Curtis pushed back on that when asked about it by FOX 13 News.
"There’s more good than bad and when we unite together, we can do anything," he said.
Along the parade route it was hot and winds occasionally picked up. This holiday, state officials are pleading with people to do what they can to avoid sparking a wildfire. Red flag conditions exist right now (hot temperatures and strong winds which dramatically increase fire danger) and fireworks restrictions are in effect in communities across Utah.
"Citizens should use good judgment and follow local rules," said Provo City Council member Shannon Ellsworth. "Check in with the fire department in your city to understand what the rules are."