As he was leading Friday’s Yankee Doodle Parade through downtown Denton, U.S. Olympian Jordan Malone was proud to be back home where it all began.
“Being the grand marshal is a huge honor and it’s great to be here,” said Malone, who first took part in the parade skating as a child. “Denton is so proud of me and I am proud to be from Denton.”
Malone won a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and a bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Games, both in the 5,000-meter speedskating relay.
“It’s so much fun seeing the kids wave and shouting [that] they remember seeing me when I paid a visit to their school,” Malone said during an interview after the parade.
Denton’s Fourth of July parade featured dozens of floats, bikes and vehicles — and a few horses and mules — decked out in all their patriotic glory.
Denesha Factory, a recreation specialist with the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, said the number of parade entries topped last year’s 294, although she wouldn’t have the final tally until Monday.
“It lasted 12 minutes longer this year,” she said. “Last year it was 38 minutes, and this year it was 50 minutes.”
For some spectators, it was their first time being at the parade and for others, it’s a long-standing tradition.
Donna Woodfork, a former mayoral candidate, said this was her first time attending the Fourth of July parade and she enjoyed seeing so many families together.
“This gave something for the children to do, and I learned about many organizations through the parade I didn’t know existed here,” Woodfork said. “I’m going to go home and Google some of those.”
Longtime residents Rocky and Betsy Schenck said they try to attend as many events on the downtown Square as possible.
“It was just outstanding,” said Rocky Schenck, a Marine veteran, on his thoughts after the parade dwindled down. “We moved to Denton and raised our family here many years ago because it’s just a wholesome place to live. … What better place is there to celebrate the Fourth than right here?”
MEGAN GRAY-HATFIELD can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.
Yankee Doodle Parade winners
Patriotic character: Mark Supinski as Uncle Sam
Decorated stroller: Samuel Supinksi
Decorated antique vehicle: A 1951 hunter green Ford by the McGregory family
Decorated tricycle/bicycle: Tushar and Severyn — matching bikes
Decorated scooter: Eden, Bella and Ellie Wolfe
Decorative float: Ana Supinksi — Betsy Ross
Decorated float: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “George Washington crossing the Delaware”
Clown: Kaylee Bragg
Pet: Hank as Uncle Sam
Unit with theme: Cross Timbers Community Church “Welcome home”