It's a patriotic Fourth in Groton

Kathleen Ferrie, 14, of Gales Ferry and her fellow members of the Nutmeg Volunteers Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps. participate in the annual 4th of July parade along Route 1 in Groton Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Kathleen Ferrie, 14, of Gales Ferry and her fellow members of the Nutmeg Volunteers Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps. participate in the annual 4th of July parade along Route 1 in Groton Wednesday, July 4, 2012. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo

Groton — Hundreds of people in red, white and blue found their perfect viewing spots along Long Hill Road this morning for the town's annual Fourth of July parade.

Children blew bubbles, clung on to balloons and threw poppers against the ground.

As the parade made its way to the Groton Shopping Plaza, cheers erupted and the crowd stood.

However, three people were sitting comfortably underneath a red tent, pen and paper in hand.

While they were there to enjoy the parade, they were also critiquing the music selections, costumes and enthusiasm from the parade participants.

In all, the parade judges will hand out seven awards.

Judge Christine Gunther is in her sixth year as a parade judge.

"I particularly like to hear the patriotic music. I want to see the marches. I think it's nice to see young children involved in a parade and I'm very touched when I see the veterans marching," Gunther said, eying the Yalesville Fife And Drum Corp.

She said it takes about 15 to 30 minutes for the judges to deliberate on the winners but that if there are clear winners, it "speeds up the process."

The theme was "Music of America" and the three parade judges were hoping to hear patriotic music offerings from the fife and drum cooperation's and the marching patrols participating in the parade.

Starting off at Poquonnock Plains Park and ending at the Groton Shopping Center, the parade — which involved a steady stream of classic cars, fire trucks and ambulances from the Submarine Base Fire Department, Old Mystic, Noank, Gales Ferry, Quaker Hill, Center Groton and Poquonnock Bridge fire departments — lasted for two hours.

Judging Chairman Ron McGory was looking for something unexpected for the Judge's Choice award category. The black perfectly polished 1914 Model T caught his eye.

"See, something like that, just because it's kind of cool," he said. "This parade has built up a huge following. It's the excitement of being in a town that completely comes alive once a year."

Tamyra Bernoudy, left, her son, Anthony Bernoudy, 5, and grandmother, Jane Bernoudy, all of New London watch the annual 4th of July parade along Route 1 in Groton Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Tamyra Bernoudy, left, her son, Anthony Bernoudy, 5, and grandmother, Jane Bernoudy, all of New London watch the annual 4th of July parade along Route 1 in Groton Wednesday, July 4, 2012. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo
Laurence 'Doc' Patten waves to the crowd while riding in a 1929 Model A Ford that belongs to his friend Brian Barbour both of Groton while participating in the annual 4th of July parade along Route 1 in Groton Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Laurence 'Doc' Patten waves to the crowd while riding in a 1929 Model A Ford that belongs to his friend Brian Barbour both of Groton while participating in the annual 4th of July parade along Route 1 in Groton Wednesday, July 4, 2012. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo
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