WARRENTON — “I just hate to see history lost,”?said John Rekert, Jr., at Warrenton’s Old-Fashioned Fourth of July celebration Thursday afternoon.

All around Rekert, author of the book “Rollin’ on the River,”?from which this year’s event took its theme, was evidence that history wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Hundreds of Independence Day revelers lined Warrenton’s Main Avenue, many of them arriving well ahead of the parade’s 3 p.m. start time to snag a good spot, eat a hamburger fresh off the grill and ooh and aah over classic cars and motorcycles.

Clovia Erickson, a 77-year-old Astoria native, was one of those early arrivals. She was saving spots for her family while they fetched burgers and hot dogs.

“I think this is our third year,”?she said, and noted the need to save places because of the crowd. “I?should have known better, because it’s a lot of fun.”?

Warrenton’s old-fashioned parade and afternoon festivities were a little more subdued than the way Erickson’s family celebrated in the old days.

“In the legal years, we’d always have a lot of fireworks in the backyard,”?Erickson said.

But, lest you worry, Erickson and company always put safety first.

“We always had a big bucket of water,”?she said.

Erickson and her family were awaiting lunch – courtesy of the Warrenton Volunteer Fire Department, which served free hot dogs, hamburgers and sodas to paradegoers at the fire station.

Members of the Fire Department manned the grill, flipping dozens of burgers and hot dogs and keeping the lines moving. One of this year’s grill “rookies” was Warrenton Fire Chief Tim Demers, who began his job about four months ago.

“I’m the new guy,”?Demers said as he threw a few more patties on the grill. “That’s why they don’t let me touch anything.”?

“He’s too new to touch things,”?joked Brian Alsbury.

The barbecue has been a parade mainstay for years. But the car and motorcycle show was an addition to Warrenton’s annual celebration.

“This is our first year doing a car show,”?said Melody Dufton, a member of Warrenton’s parade committee. She and committee colleague D.B. Lewis would try to reach a consensus on “the coolest car and the coolest motorcycle – that’s what the trophy says, ‘coolest.’”?

Cindy Baker of Warrenton sat in a lawn chair a few yards away from Dufton next to her pride and joy, a green 1949 Chevrolet pickup.

“This is the first show we’ve been to,” Baker said. “We live just down the road a ways and I wanted to be a part of the community activity.”?

Baker and her husband, Ian Widger, looked for more than two years before finding the truck. At first, the ’49 Chevy wasn’t exactly road ready.

“It didn’t have enough power to get up the driveway,”?Widger said.

But, after some work, Widger and Baker can take the truck out for a nice country ride – and show it off at their first car show.

“It purrs like a kitten now,”?Baker said.

Eventually – and it was a tough choice – the coolest vehicle trophy was awarded to Steve Jordan’s 1957 Buick Century convertible. And the coolest motorcycle was Daniel Jordan’s self-built motorcycle, made with parts from 1917 to 2013, and honoring Patriot Guard Riders.



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