HALF MOON BAY (KPIX) -- The 50th anniversary of the Half Moon Bay Ol' Fashioned 4th of July Parade & Festival was extra special this year because it had been canceled last year. Old traditions returned and so did the smiles.
"It's good to be free again without the masks, at least outside, so we want to enjoy the free air and also celebrate with most of the people since we've been cooped up for a year," said Luz Castillo of Pacifica.
There was plenty of musical entertainment and dancing in the streets.
People waved the American flag and cheered as classic cars, military vehicles and horses made their way down Main Street.
"It's just a pleasure to see the people, it's great people-watching, dog-watching, baby-watching, it's just nice to be part of the community again," said Bill Sherry of Pleasanton.
"It's nice to be out with everybody and not have to wear masks," added Emma Heaton of Menlo Park.
Many in the crowd still kept their masks on.
"... Little nerve-wracking still -- masks on, masks off -- but, overall, I think being outside and just being able to enjoy the fresh air and see other people is really great," said Judy Sherry of Pleasanton.
This year it was a celebration of independence and making it this far through the pandemic.
"I'm so excited to be out and this is our first time here actually and it's just good to be back," said Amy Venegas of Pacifica.
Parade highlights included community leader and grand marshal Beverly Ashcraft, who celebrated her 90th birthday along with numerous canine companions and horses that showed off their tricks.
Many people also felt confident being in a crowd.
"... Assuming people are being responsible, if they're not vaccinating hopefully they're wearing their masks but I don't have any concerns for myself or for my family," said Angelo Matheou of Half Moon Bay.
Organizers also partnered with Coastside Hope to set up a pop-up vaccine clinic. Lalo Ruiz-Aguilar came to the parade with his family and then decided to get his first shot.
"It's better for everyone to feel safe and I guess I can do more -- I can travel, I can go to different places and stuff and I kind of want to go to Mexico to see my other family and I don't want anyone to restrict me," Ruiz-Aguilar said.
Coastside Hope also hosts a clinic nearby every Sunday for those still interested in getting a vaccine. San Mateo County said it's trying to reach the final 15 percent of the population that hasn't been vaccinated.
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