A crew from Urabus Volkswagen repair rides down East Main Street during the annual Fourth of July parade. More photos, P14-15.

Fourth of July in Buena Vista returned this past warm, summer weekend (finally).

“It went well,” said Carole Vowell, the event coordinator with the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce and the town. “Everyone had a great time.”

The day began with an Independence Day Freedom 5K and the Optimist Club’s annual pancake breakfast before the town gathered around Main Street decked out in red, white and blue to witness a classic, time-tested piece of Americana: a small-town Fourth of July parade.

“We had a banner breakfast with 651 people attending,” said Optimist Club president Honora Roberts said. “Our prior records for the July 4 Breakfast were 611 guests in 2007. Although we have not finalized the numbers, it appears we set an attendance record this year and had receipts that are the second highest ever.

“Thank you to the wonderful people in the Town of Buena Vista for their ongoing support of the Optimist Club July 4th Pancake Breakfast,” Roberts said.

In the Freedom 5K, which took 174 runners down Cedar Street and along the Arkansas River through the river park, 24-year-old Kyle Eller came away with a first-place finish of 17 minutes, 58 seconds.

Trailing Eller in second and third were 17-year-old Owen Buehler and Peter Franklin, 21, with times of 18:09 and 18:13.

Among female entrants, Kari Samuelson, 36, placed first with a finish of 20:23, followed by Ericka Joiner, 32 and 15-year-old Mallory Salazar with times of 21:24 and 22:27.

Samuelson placed sixth overall, Joiner seventh and Salazar 11th.

The field saw five runners under the age of 10, lead by 9-year-old Henry Vidmar, who finished 73rd with a time of 29:38.

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