CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Residents in the South Norfolk neighborhood of Chesapeake kicked off the 4th of July with a fun and festive parade.

Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department teamed up with the South Norfolk Civic League for the annual South Norfolk July 4th Parade and Picnic in the Park Celebration.

Chance O’Negative of Chesapeake says she came out for a couple of reasons.

“I love South Norfolk, I love the community, I love independence,” she said.

Love for the community shined bright along the parade route beginning on Poindexter Street. O’Negative says she’s happy to see the community out together again in full force, especially after the last two years kept everyone apart.

“I think it’s beautiful and this independence, in particular, is a, it’s a way to bring everyone together for everyone’s independence. And I think we needed it after COVID,” she said.

Jake Tromburg and other members of the South Norfolk Christian Church Community did their part to help. They bought 700 water bottles and 500 ice cream bars to hand out to people in the parade and those watching along the route.

“Our church wanted to come out here and just hand out water and ice cream to people,” he said. “We all came together, all supplied it and we’re all here just hanging out together as a family and meeting whoever comes.”

A number of eye-catching sights came by in the parade from small cars to firetrucks. A handful of our elected representatives came by as well including Rep. Bobby Scott and Virginia State Sen. Louise Lucas.

4-year-old AnaClaire showed us how she’s cheering on everyone coming by and her 5-year-old cousin Bodhi says he has some big plans for after the parade.

“We’re going to the cool park after the parade and we’re going to have fun,” said Bodhi. “We’re going to play and we’re going to play tag and we’re going to play hide and seek and we’re going to do so many fun things.”

Regardless of how you celebrate, community members say celebrate safely.

“Be safe, love everyone, and just appreciate the freedoms that we have here,” said O’Negative.

The parade ended here at Lakeside Park where people could enjoy the shade, get some food and some drinks after watching the parade and braving the heat. 

People could also go paddle boating in the lake as well.