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Visitors flock to Seminole for Pow Wow

As she watched the floats, clowns and dancers go by, 3-year-old Amanda McGahen jumped up and down and clapped her hands.

At the end, she waved goodbye and announced loudly between giggles, "Good job."

Amanda and thousands of Seminole residents lined the streets to watch the annual parade Saturday morning, a kickoff to the city's daylong Seminole Pow Wow festival.

Children of all ages waved to city officials and local celebrities riding in sporty convertibles and old-fashioned cars as they tried to catch the Tootsie Rolls tossed to the crowds by the handful.

The hourlong parade ended at the city's recreation center on 113th Street, where a field had been transformed into a local carnival complete with rides, live music and face painting.

Rows of vendors hawked jewelry, country crafts and American Indian artifacts, while Pow Wow organizers sold T-shirts and afghans showing how the city has grown.

Residents lined up to buy cold soft drinks, candy apples, hot dogs, funnel cakes and gator nuggets. But it was the smell of cooking chicken that lingered in the air.

Firefighters spent the day grilling 600 pieces of chicken _ a tradition that began 30 years ago when the festival was born.

The Pow Wow virtually shuts down the city _ attracting thousands of residents and closing down several streets.

"It's a lot bigger now than it was when I used to go," said Shay Douds, who came to the Pow Wow for the first time in more than a decade. "It's kind of like coming home."

This time, Douds brought her husband, Ty, and two children, Ariel, 6, and Zane, 4.

"It's a beautiful day," Ty Douds said. "It's a good crowd, and everybody seems to be having a good time."