Martha’s Vineyard marked the national holiday Monday with parades large and small, in a return to well-loved traditions.

Parade steps off at 5 p.m. — Tim Johnson

From harbors to beaches to downtown centers, the Island was jammed with people for the holiday.

Before the end-of-day parade in Edgartown, two smaller parades provided a colorful warmup.

Dressed in red, white and blue, kids big and small gathered in the Oak Bluffs Camp Ground Monday morning for the annual children’s parade.

The parade was started about 25 years ago by friends Pam Rogers and Gretchen Rehak. Originally it was just Ms. Rogers, Ms. Rehak and their kids walking past a few houses to celebrate the holiday. Since then the parade has grown  to a point where over 100 kids and parents come out to walk the roughly quarter-mile route.

“We started making invitations and putting them on people’s porches to invite them to join us for the next parade,” Ms. Rogers said. “It grew from four people to like 10 people and then just kept going.”

Camp Ground children's parade celebrates its 21st year in red, white and blue style. — Zach Harris

Jodie and Bob Falkenburg, Ms. Rogers’s parents, have been the grand marshals of the parade for years. The couple, who are 92 and 95 years old respectively and will celebrate their 72nd anniversary in October, guided the group in a golf cart. Both wore American flag bunting capes — Mr. Falkenburg sported a top hat befit for Uncle Sam while Ms. Falkenburg wore Statue of Liberty themed sunglasses.

“I yell out Happy Birthday America,” Mr. Falkenburg said about what he likes to do from the driver’s seat.

Elise Laird, 10, and her brother Byron, 9, led the group by carrying a banner which read Fourth of July Kids Parade. The two have been marching in the parade since they were little, but they said being at the front made this year especially fun.

“It felt good that we got to do it,” Elise said.

Byron agreed, adding that his favorite part was “that we got to be in the front of the parade.”

Zach Harris

Ms. Rogers stamped American-flag themed temporary tattoos on cheeks, arms and hands. Some were eager to get one while others were more circumspect.

Hazel Allen led the group in reciting the pledge of allegiance. Then the parade began: some kids walked, some were carried by their parents and some did a bit of both. They wore red, white and blue clothes, necklaces and sunglasses. Many rode bikes — both with and without training wheels — as well as scooters and roller-blades. American flags dotted the crowd, fluttering in the breeze.

“It’s just small town Americana at its best,” Ms. Allen said. “Everybody here looks forward to it.”

Camp Ground residents gathered on their porches to cheer on the group as they wound their way down Clinton avenue and looped around the Tabernacle. Some marchers straggled behind and others became distracted by a bubble machine which billowed out soapy circles.

“Bubbles!” one boy exclaimed.

After completing the route, Ms. Allen reconvened the group to sing the national anthem. And then it was time for ice cream and cookies for breakfast, a parade tradition.

—Zach Harris

Around the same time, Aquinnah staged its own small traditional parade, which wound along Moshup Trail to the Gay Head Light.

Winner of best float went to Noli Tayor for her 10-foot-tall statue on the back of her flatbed truck shaped like the universal sign for women. — Lisa Vanderhoop

Stepping off to the sound of the McDonald Canon, the convoy of eclectic cars and trucks featured all kinds of patriotic decorations and enthusiastic passengers.

“My favorite part of the parade is how our neighborhood gathers in such an unscripted way,” John Patton, an Aquinnah resident, said, decked out in a red, white and blue T-shirt.

Like the Camp Ground parade, the Aquinnah parade has humble beginnings. It started around 20 years ago, when families living on Old South Road would walk up and down their road, banging pots and pans, singing Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Today it is a townwide affair.

“Every year it got a little bigger, and then a little bigger,” recalled Rob Schiller, one of the founders.

Winner of best float went to Noli Tayor for her 10-foot-tall statue on the back of her flatbed truck shaped like the universal sign for women. For her, celebrating the Fourth of July involves recognizing America’s imperfections.

Lisa Vanderhoop

“This year it felt like more than waving flags,” Ms. Taylor said.

Scott Grewe, head chef at the Outermost Inn, brought up the rear in an open military-style buggy. Attending the parade for the first time with a handful of his coworkers, he planned to make the most of the holiday.

“The spirit of the Fourth of July is what brought us out here,” he said.

— Diego Lasarte

More pictures.