Annual village parade continues longtime tradition
By Terry Duffy
Summer is fading fast, with colleges coming back in session and the first day of school for many just right around the corner.
But first we have Labor Day weekend - you know that somewhat unofficial end of summer left to enjoy.
In the lower River Region, Youngstown will be the place to be come Monday, Sept. 4, as the Village of Youngstown, along with the Porter Youngstown Ransomville Business Association, local residents and businesses, is set to stage a decades-old community favorite: Youngstown's Labor Day Parade.
Starting at noon, the parade will begin at Fort Niagara State Park and proceed down the village's Main Street to Church Street to Veterans Park.
"It's a celebration of labor, farming, first responders, heroes, volunteering, military service and family - all of which have made this country great," said organizer and Youngstown resident Aaron Dey of the Porter Youngstown Ransomville Business Association. "We are extending an invitation to those volunteer fire departments and other participants of past parades who have represented themselves so well during Labor Days in the past."
First held in 1911, the longtime Labor Day Parade has become a tradition with the village, "presenting Americana and what is best in America. A tradition that started 106 years ago is again lifting the torch ... as it celebrates American heroes, labor, small business, families, history, ingenuity, community," Dey said. "This new parade expands that tradition as a celebration of who we are as Americans and where we have come from."
And PYRBA and village organizers are extending an invitation for all to participate. Area volunteer fire companies, law enforcement, labor organizations, elected officeholders, candidates for office, dance troupes, community, youth and athletic organizations - even pets - are all welcome.
The Youngstown, NY All-American Kazoo Band, a relatively new group that prides itself on bringing "joyful noise, and silly fun while marching (or on floats) in local parades," is among those expected to join in the fun. They invite local residents and visitors to participate - kazoos will be provided - and the group aims to have a float in this year's parade.
"We provide the kazoo, and you join us in 'kazooing' All-American songs," reads one of the group's posts on Facebook. "Sometimes we march, and other times we will have a small flatbed that pulls us on the parade route. We welcome anyone to join us, and look forward to your participation."
Visit the group's Facebook page for more information.
Dey said the parade will feature five categories of prize awards this year, including:
•The Mayor's Award - Presented to the all around parade favorite. Preference will be given to area families that represent themselves in the parade.
•The Heroes Award - Presented to the "best American heroes."
•Historical Award - Recognizing the "best display or performance, keeping history alive."
•Best Parade Float.
•Best Pet and Costume.
Organizers said pets are, indeed, welcomed to participate in this year's parade. Water stations will be provided and families are encouraged to either carry a pet or bring a wagon. Preference will be given to pets appearing in costume.
Dey said winners of "the best" in each category would be recognized with large trophies expected to be on display at the Youngstown Village Diner on Main Street, starting this weekend.
Parade organizers noted there will be a reception for participants just off Main Street following the parade.
"Just look for the tent and the crowds," Dey said.
He invited residents from the Niagara community and beyond to visit Youngstown to join in the fun.
"We hope that you will fondly remember your participation and the reaction from the large crowds who lined the streets and applauded you. I know we do," Dey said.
Those interested in participating in this year's parade need to register by Wednesday, Aug. 30. For more information, visit www.labordayparade.org