CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — This year marked 50 years of celebrating freedom at Centerville’s Americana Festival.

The annual Americana Festival always draws a crowd, and this year was no exception. People lined the streets Monday to watch the parade, including Mike Jones and his family.

“It’s so nice now with COVID finally starting settle down a little bit, see all the people out again this year. It’s just such a such a fun time to come out and you see the enormity of it. It’s really cool,” Jones said.

The Jones family has called Centerville home for the last 10 years, and this annual tradition is one they never miss.

“We’ve lived here for about a decade and this is by far the highlight of our summer,” Jones said.

The Americana Festival started off bright and early Monday with a 5K run, which is something Kyle Bucklew has participated in for years. Born and raised in Centerville, he said this festival brings out a sense of pride in his community.

“It’s really something that kind of reminds me of home. When I go away for college or for other schools and things like that, I always know I can come back and just count on the city to come out and really be in full force for the Fourth of July,” Bucklew said.

Bucklew said it is the parade that remains extra special for him.

“I think the parade is what I look forward to most because of my aunts and uncles and my grandparents are out here. And we all just get to stand out here, watch the parade, and see our friends as they watch the parade, too. It just really brings the city together, and that’s what I love,” Bucklew said.

While there is always something to celebrate on America’s Independence Day, this year’s celebrations mean a little more.

“It’s a good time to sit down and realize how fortunate we are, especially with stuff going on around the world with Ukraine and Russia and some of that stuff, to really reflect on how fortunate we are despite all of our differences in opinion,” Jones said.