Hundreds show their patriotic spirit at Westchester Neighborhood Parade

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A tradition that started with fewer than 10 families has grown into hundreds of people decked out in their best red, white and blue.

Wednesday marked the 30th Annual Westchester Fourth of July Parade in Downtown Bakersfield.

For Herb and Sue Benham, who started the tradition 30 years ago, they are happy to see the how it has grown.

“The first year was just six families,” Sue says. “We lived at 20th and Ceder, we started at our corner, went down 20th Street to the dead end and turned around. Kids decorated their bikes and that was that.

The parade has become a kick-off to Independence Day for many like Robert White who has participated in every Westchester Parade.

“It’s the beginning of our country, our freedom from England and we appreciate that so much,” he said.

“Each year, so many of our fighting men have given so much and taken so little from us so we appreciate them each year and it’s a wonderful thing to do to get friends together.”

Bikes, cars and boats lined the streets, including the Casagrande family’s historic Diamond T. Just last month, the truck was stolen, but found and returned to be included in the parade.

“It means a lot to the family. To all the kids who didn’t realize how much it meant to them,” Richard Casagrande said. “It’s a link to their grandfather who drove this truck. He and I went fishing in it so it was a good thing. It was a good time.”

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