Downtown Bettendorf was a sea of red, white and blue Tuesday morning as thousands lined State and Grant streets during the annual Fourth of July parade.
Sally Hanson of Davenport came to the parade decked out in red pants, a blue shirt and a crown of white and yellow daisies and red and blue flowers.
She has attended the parade with her children, Sky, 13, Angel, 11, and Nick, 10, since they moved to the area in 2009.
“My favorite part is just coming down and watching the parade,” she said.
The parade, directed by the Greater Bettendorf Community Foundation, began with police and fire department vehicles flashing their lights as units set out from the intersection of 23rd and State streets.
This year’s theme was “The Rockets’ Red, White and Blue Glare,” which was evident in several of the floats that participated in the parade.
High school bands and bands from around the area serenaded the crowds with music, while Bettendorf’s Lil ‘Dawgs softball team sprayed the crowd with water from Super Soakers.
Members of the Patriot Guard Riders carried large American, POW and military service flags on the back of their motorcycles as they made their way along the route.
Some onlookers had set up tailgating tents along the Grant Street route. One tent featured breakfast food and snacks, bags games and temporary tattoos for the kids.
“This is our second year doing this,” said Amy Gayton of Bettendorf. “We used to do a potluck breakfast and other fun stuff, but we kind of wanted some shade and grass.”
She said the Fourth of July is her favorite holiday because, “I love summer and the fireworks and just the outdoors.”
This is the second year that Jennifer Sawyer brought her granddaughter, Quinn, to the parade. Quinn, who will turn 2 at the end of the month, said she liked seeing the dogs.
Sawyer added that that the toddler also looked forward to seeing the horses and bands.
This year’s parade marshals were Pat Angerer and Bret Greenwood.
Angerer is a former linebacker for for Bettendorf High School, Iowa Hawkeyes, and the Indianapolis Colts, while Greenwood is a former Pleasant Valley High School standout and a fellow Hawkeye teammate.
On Sept. 9, 2011, Greenwood’s heart stopped during a routine workout at his former high school's stadium. His brain was denied oxygen and once hospitalized, he was placed into a coma.
When he woke up, Greenwood couldn't walk or see or talk. He had to relearn almost everything. Over the next two years, Greenwood went to weekly physical therapy sessions.
He got a little better and then he hit a plateau.
In 2014, after receiving a call from Greenwood’s physical therapist, Angerer began to help Greenwood at his physical therapy sessions.
"Together, these two have drawn strength from one another to overcome extreme physical and personal obstacles," Bettendorf spokeswoman Lauran Haldeman said in a news release.
Angerer and Greenwood tossed candy to the crowd as they rode in the back of a pick-up truck. The crowd applauded as they rode by.
“Any time you get honored by your hometown, the place you grow up in … that stuff doesn’t come around quite often so we appreciate it,” Angerer said. “It’s just been amazing, and to be able to share that with a guy like that is even better.”
The party didn't stop at the parade. Spruce Hills Drive was closed from 18th Street to Cumberland Square Drive for a festival featuring music, crafts, food, and amusement rides.