North Carolina's official Fourth of July celebration has Hollywood's attention
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SOUTHPORT, N.C.--The cadence of the parade, cheerful spectators and colorful storefronts describes Southport on July 4th.
It's the home of the North Carolina 4th of July Festival since 1972. The parade draws tens of thousands of people from all over the country.
"This is the highlight of our year," said Janet Murray, an Oak Island resident.
They start lining the city's streets early in the morning.
"We enjoyed it that first year and we just wanted to keep coming back," said Robbie Smith, a Southport resident.
"It's something that I've never seen before but only in Southport, they have such a patriotic spirit," said Marianne Long, a business owner.
And this year, that spirit is being caught on camera for possibly the whole world to see.
Two movie crews were out capturing the sights and sounds of the parade.
The clips could end up in the movie "Safe Haven," an adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel, or in the HBO TV movie "Mary and Martha," starring Hilary Swank.
"It's fantastic, some one told me they saw celebrities in the Food Lion over in Oak Island," said Murray.
Movie makers directed business owners along the parade route to go all out when decorating.
"I'm very excited, I hope the use part of the outside of Bullfrog," said Long.
"I love this time of year, it's my favorite time so I always go all out but I did do a little bit more because of the movies, it's fun and exciting," said Katie Rivenbark, also a business owner.
On top of that, five of the floats in the parade won a contest that could also win them a spot on the big screen.
Even with all of the activities, many never lost sight of why they're celebrating.
"This is mainly about honoring our service men, celebrating America, that's what 4th of July is all about," said Long.
If you want to see if our state's 4th of July celebration made the cut, "Safe Haven" is expected to be released in February 2013.
A release date for "Mary and Martha" has not yet been announced.