Interim Tribune Editor
Legislator Richard Andres and the Carnegie Arts Center are sponsoring a kids Fourth of July parade. The event will take the place of the annual Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum Fourth of July kids parade, which was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
Andres’ request to hold the parade was tentatively approved by the North Tonawanda Common Council on June 19.
The parade will start at 10:30 a.m., beginning at the corner of Thompson and Niagara Street at the Pine Woods Park entrance. From there, it will head down Niagara Street to Goundry Street, heading west on Goundry to the Carnegie Art Center. Once at the art center, kids will be able to take part in social distancing activities including a magic show as well as a public art project celebrating America’s birthday.
The event is expected to end at noon. Kids are encouraged to bring their bikes and wagons and to decorate them for the Fourth of July, while parents are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket.
This year would’ve marked the fourth year for the Herschell Carrousel Museum Fourth of July parade. Speaking on the decision to cancel the usual event, Andres said it would’ve been nearly impossible to run it safely.
“We usually crush the Carousel Museum with 250 kids all at once. If they’re supposed to clean every surface, with kids going from this ride to that ride… they just don’t have the staff there; it’s usually volunteers,” Andres said. “(With the Carnegie Center), we thought we could do something that was more of a performance instead of everybody touching the same things. We thought we could handle the social distancing better by having something passive that you watch rather than everyone handling the same materials.”
Andres noted the Carousel Museum staffers said they would “be happy to resume next year.”
The decision to cancel the traditional festivities was tough on Andres, who’s spearheaded the event every year. Still, he said that this year – perhaps more so than any other – it was important to give kids an event to look forward to.
“Considering everything going on in the country right now, I didn’t just want to let (the celebration) die. My wife and I came up with (Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum Fourth of July kids parade) a number of years ago and it’s always been super successful and kids seem to love it, especially because on the Fourth of July morning there’s nothing to do. This year especially, we thought that the kids deserve it and it’s something better than the same old, same old,” Andres said.
“It’s kind of an interesting rearrangement of the tradition, but we’ll make it work. Social distancing is front and center, so we’re definitely keeping that in mind. We’re hoping to keep everyone safe and entertained and we’re hoping for great weather,” he said.