GREENSBORO, NC -- From babies in the red, white and blue, to the bearded Lady Liberty, and even what they call a “red neck hot tub,” the Kirkwood neighborhood in Greensboro likes to have fun at its Fourth of July Parade.
What started as a small family block party has evolved into an annual neighborhood parade with hundreds of people involved.
They call themselves “America's Most Patriotic Neighborhood.”
The streets are named Liberty Road, Colonial Drive, and Independence Avenue.
Longtime Kirkwood resident Willy Hammer says the pride and patriotism of the neighborhood is part of the reason he decided to move his family there.
“A lot of people that lived here as children come back and raise their children here because it is such a good environment,” said Hammer. “It's such a good community. It's such a close knit community.”
On Independence Avenue is the centerpiece of the parade -- a 50 foot wide American flag.
As the tradition goes, the flag is stored in the same house year after year, regardless of who lives there.
This year, David Buchanan is spending his first Fourth of July as the new “keeper of the flag.”
He moved in last year.
“It's a lot of responsibility and I know where I'm going to be on the Fourth of July for the next 10 to 15 years,” said Buchanan.
The tradition has been going for 68 years.
In 1949, four patriotic families formed the first Kirkwood Fourth of July parade – marching a hand sewn flag through the streets.
On every following Fourth of July, neighborhood families have continued the tradition.
Hammer made a makeshift historical marker to document the history of the neighborhood's patriotism.
"We want to keep it going and keep the tradition alive for the next folks to come along," said Hammer.
“You have grandparents who have attended this event. Parents are bringing their kids. I'm quite sure that their kids are going to bring their kids just because it's going to continue to happen every year,” said Buchanan. “It's that strong of a tradition in this neighborhood!”
The Kirkwood neighborhood gets its name from Captain Robert Kirkwood, an American Revolutionary War hero, who fought in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
In the 1950’s, many of the houses built in the Kirkwood neighborhood were built specifically for veterans returning home from World War II, according to Hammer.