ROUND TOP, Texas - Governor Rick Perry was among several thousand Texans who celebrated the Fourth of July in the small town of Round Top, about 90 miles west of Houston.
Round Top's annual parade has been a tradition for 163 years. It's the longest continually held Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi.
This year, there were 150 entries, including floats, fire trucks, antique cars, tractors, trail riders, and one motorized Lazy-Boy lounger.
The procession kicked off at 10:30 Thursday morning with the traditional firing of a Civil War era mortar. It snaked through the little town for about 45 minutes as an enthusiastic crowd cheered and applauded.
Trisha Buechmann drove her family in from Brenham. They've attended in previous years. Buechmann appreciates the old fashioned feel off the event.
"It's the community and sense of togetherness, and everybody is here to celebrate the meaning of the day," Buechmann said.
This was the first year Courtney Pope and her kids have attended. She said they'll be back.
"We love Houston. We love being in the big city, but there's something different about celebrating July Fourth in a small town you can't get anywhere else," Pope said.
The parade was started in 1851 and was even held during the Civil War after Texas left the Union to join the Confederacy.
It's sponsored by the Round Top Rifle Association which was founded by the town's German settlers. The Fourth of July tradition lives on through their descendants.
Banker Dave Weishuhm has been helping put it on for 23 years.
"That's our family, and we wanted to carry on that time honored tradition," said Weishuhm.
After the parade ended, about 1,200 people crowded the Rifle Association Hall for barbecue and to be serenaded by the Round Top Brass Band.
Gov. Perry came as a spectator and left shortly after the parade ended. The governor owns property in Round Top, and participated in the parade last year doing his failed presidential bid. He's planning to announce his future political plans in San Antonio on Monday.
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