In between golf carts, antique English cars and horses, Sarah Conroy, 70, stood out next to her tricycle.
Alongside about 30 organizations and 170 Hernando County residents, Conroy rode in High Point golf community's July Fourth parade. After 10 years as a High Point resident, Conroy rode in the parade for the first time. She was the only tricycle.
Over two days, she decorated the tricycle's wheel spokes, as well as the poles that supported an overhead cover, in red, white and blue ribbons and pinwheels. The lines of traditional golf carts in the parade wore the same kind sparkling banners and flags. As the carts lined up, residents taped on the finishing touches.
"It's a lot of fun. Every year the parade goes by, and you get a lot of inspiration from it for your country," Conroy said.
Along the parade route, spectators sat under carports and in golf carts, receiving free swag from volunteers associated with the floats.
Some distributed literature for politicians running in Hernando County elections, while others handed out beaded necklaces. Most golf carts and floats threw candy for the children watching.
"I think that's why we're so popular," Oakie Scache, 82, said. "We have candy."
Scache has lived in High Point for almost two decades and has driven her golf cart in the parade multiple times.
"People come here from all over. I hope it's for the parade and not just the candy," she said, laughing.
Although the High Point parade is within the golf community, it is the only parade in Hernando County and open to the public.
Under the shade of a tree, Gwen Roy, 68, sat back in a lawn chair fanning herself as her 6-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, rushed to pick candy up off the street.
Roy smiled and waved as floats and horses passed by.
"My husband was a veteran, so things like this are very touching," Roy said. She began to hold back tears.
Roy's late husband, Lynn Roy, served in the Navy for 22 years and survived the attack on Pearl Harbor.
On holidays such as Independence Day, Roy said she is reminded of him.
"He loved his country."
The parade route ended at the High Point Community Center, where spectators gathered for a flag raising ceremony organized by Post 186 of the American Legion. Residents and visitors mingled inside the community center over refreshments and cookies as the parade contest results were announced afterward.
Laura Herrera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 754-6114.