PEPPERELL -- Pepperell's annual Fourth of July parade rolled down Main Street on Saturday, featuring members of the armed forces, the Pepperell Police and Fire departments and the Board of Selectmen.
Also participating in the parade were local businesses, the Boy Scouts, and Grand Marshal Jeri Bozicas, who was chosen by community vote.
Residents of Pepperell and other nearby communities turned out to see the parade and the fireworks that followed at night. The events require about $32,000 to run, all of which was raised by the Pepperell Fourth of July Committee at various fundraisers throughout the year.
President of the Fourth of July Committee Carol Gates said this year's parade was "absolutely amazing."
"No one can do it like Pepperell does it. If you don't go then you don't realize how big it is. Pepperell is just the best kept secret," Gates said.
But the work isn't over. Gates said members of the committee are taking a week off before having their first meeting to plan the 2014 Fourth of July celebration.
"The community is awesome in how they stand behind us and support us. We're already ready to get going on 2014," she said.
For many residents of Pepperell, the parade is a yearly tradition.
Heidi Legassie, who brought her 9-month-old grandson, Christian Carvahlo, to watch, said the parade is a time for Pepperell families.
"The whole town participates. All the generations of families come together.
Kiley Hardy, 19, said she comes to see the parade every year, but this year came to watch her cousins marching in it.
"Our town's so small that you have to know someone in the parade every year," Hardy said.
Terri Angelucci, who came to the parade with her 11-year-old daughter Amanda, travels from Billerica each year to join in the festivities.
"Pepperell has a good patriotic feel to it. We make a point to come here just to watch it," Angelucci said.
Jessie Auvin, who grew up in Pepperell, has gone to the parade every year since he was a child, and continues to return even though he now lives with his family in Milford, NH. Now, Auvin brings his sons, Vinnie, 6, and Joel, 2, to catch candy being thrown from the floats on Main Street.
"You get to see a lot of people you haven't seen in a while. The people that you see every year are what make it Pepperell," Auvin said.
Follow Chelsea Feinstein at Twitter.com/CEFeinstein.