The end of June and beginning of July is usually a hectic time of year for most cities. However Melissa got a jump on the festivals, parties and fireworks over the weekend with its annual Celebration of Freedom in honor of Independence Day.

The festival included a parade, music, fireworks and a wide variety of vendors to cater to the citizens flocking to the event.

The event kicked off Saturday morning with an old-fashioned Independence Day parade that winded along Cardinal Drive. It included representatives from the Melissa Fire Department, Melissa Police Department and local and federal officials. After the morning parade, crowds gathered at Zadow Park in the early evening hours for the festival portion of the event.

While most events have a certain type of vendor, the thousands that turned out for this year’s Celebration of Freedom saw vendors that broke away from the mold by bringing in unique vendors.

One of the unique vendors that was hosted at the Freedom Celebration was a create your own sand booth, which allowed people of all ages to create a shaped bottle with different colors of sand. The owner said she hopes to be able to come back every year.

Another booth set up was the Green Roads, a booth that sells CBD products. According to part-owner, Courtney Allison, the Green Roads set up at Freedom Celebration to bring awareness to local citizens of its products, which include items for people and animals.

Dr. Bryce Gates was at the event with Custom Dental, which was advertising its scholarship program for children. The program requires a student to sign up online, write an essay on a certain subject, and get a referral from a teacher. The scholarship’s winner is picked at the end of the event.

In addition to the vendors and exhibits, attendees also had the chance to sample various foods, play games and enjoy live entertainment from Below the Radar. The event then culminated in a fireworks display at the end of the evening.