AURORA -- A huge throng of people took advantage of some of the best July 4 weather in recent years last week to attend and participate in a variety of holiday activities in Aurora.
As is the tradition, the day kicked off with the 1-mile and 5K runs, continued with a large parade, food and festivities in the afternoon at Kiwanis-Moore Playground and ended with fireworks just after dark.
Unlike some years when sweltering heat and humidity made participants want to stay under shade trees, the high temperature was in the low 80s, with low to moderate humidity.
"What a great community day July 4 was in Aurora," said Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin. "It reflected the small-town spirit that people love about Aurora.
"We had many participants in all the festivities starting with the morning races, and the parade was huge. I was especially honored to have U.S. Rep. David Joyce walk with me during the parade, along with my family and many friends.
"The festival was well attended, with people enjoying carnival fare and frog jumping, among other activities. The day was capped off with an amazing fireworks show, one of the best yet in Aurora. Of course, we all benefited from the beautiful weather."
The Aurora Historical Society's Sheldon Deed House on the triangle across from Aurora Memorial Library was open, and the Church in Aurora also hosted its annual July 4 open house during the afternoon.
Here are the winners of various categories for parade units:
Schools -- Aurora Co-op Preschool; business -- Aurora Veterinarian Clinic; non-profit -- Freedom Greyhound; most patriotic -- American Legion Post 803; community / neighborhood group -- Four Season Dr. Seuss theme.
Honorable mentions are: school -- My First School; business -- The Avenue at Aurora; non-profit -- Aurora Historical Society; most patriotic -- The Church in Aurora; and community / neighborhood group -- Paul Moore.
Results of the fun runs can be found on Pages 16 and 17 and results of the Ric Mattmuller memorial frog jumping contest can be found on Page 3 in "In The Community."