Thousands of Rogue Valley residents braved triple-digit heat to watch Fourth of July parades in Ashland, Central Point and Eagle Point.

In Ashland's 100th annual parade, participants ranged from the youthful gymnasts of the Ashland YMCA to state Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland. This year's parade was led by grand marshals Dan Bulkey — a former Southern Oregon University professor — and Stan Smith, better known as "Mr. Raider Football," the oldest living member of SOU's undefeated 1946 football team.

This year's parades saw the return of opening flyovers by F-15 figher jets from the Oregon Air National Guard base at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls. The jets had been conspicuously absent from recent years' Independence Day events after a series of federal budget cuts, but this year they flew over events in Central Point, Eagle Point and Lake of the Woods, as well as Ashland's festivities.

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