By Sam Garchik

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 5, 2001

Youth parade knowledge of Independence Day.

Thursday, July 05, 2001

Youth parade knowledge of Independence Day

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Shery Brown, who judged the parade floats for her third year, knows what makes people happy.

"The parade keeps the kids interested," she said. She couldn’t have been more right.

"Parades and candy. Yeah!" said Amanda Nelson, 14.

Ten year old Emily Loveland painted her little brother Garrin’s cheeks red white and blue. She didn’t have a favorite candy. "I like them all," she said.

Others youngsters concentrated on their favorite parts of the parade.

Elizabeth Perzynski, 11, said she liked the SPAM guys, while Juan Reyes, 13, liked the marching bands.

"I like how they played," he said.

His younger brother Steven liked the Shriners, who he said "rode fast."

The Lions Go-Carts made 3-year-old Austin McConnell happy, as well as Austin Mortenson, who "wanted one right now."

Other youngsters, like Jason Deyo, 15, and his bicycle riding friends, looked forward to the fireworks.

"It’s so cool how they get all the different colors and everything," said Michael Murphy, 14, who tried to explain fireworks.

Tim Wendroth, also 14, said that they can be kind of scary.

"There are lots of colors, then noise, then run for your life," he said jokingly.

Cam Hunter, 14, understood the history of the festival. "I guess its a celebration of when we liberated our freedom from England," he said.

Sean Craven, a 9-year-old Boy Scout, said the fourth represented "Liberty for all," while Joey Weber said, "It is a reminder of our veterans that sacrificed in war for us."

"We gained our independence from England," said Michael Li, 11-year-old son of Olympic bronze medalist Kong Zhen Li, who had come to Austin to perform in a diving show.

Li family friend, 11-year-old Nils Perrson, put the fourth in perspective.

"They can’t vote for the president in China," he said.

Finally, Brittany Olsen, 12, understood that the holiday was important, even if she confused the Civil War with the Revolutionary War.

"It’s a day of independence and how the slaves got out of slavery," said Olsen.

Even those who saw this day like any other still felt the need to do something special.

James Sershen, 9, played mini-golf, Jeffrey Distad, sophomore at Austin High, ate Kettle Korn in the shade, and Travis Stowell, 13, who was looking forward to the fireworks and Saturday’s SPAM Jam, was skate boarding around Horace Austin Park.

But Miranda Mewes, 14, and Christy Rekness, 15, had the best idea of all. They work at the Kettle Korn concession, and took a one hour break to go swimming.

"It will feel good on a hot day like this," said Mewes.