People plugged their ears as the fire whistle sounded promptly at 11 a.m., marking the start of the 99th annual Fourth of July Parade at Springfield Center.
It was attended by a crowd of about 4,000, typical in most recent years, lining the parade route deeply at some places from Smith Road to the Springfield Community Center. Shade was at a premium, but after the recent rains, onlookers didn’t seem to mind the heat and humidity.
About two doors up from the fire station on county Route 29, Dorothy and Leland Harvey had an excellent view from their lawn under a tree.
“We’ve been watching the parade from here for about 50 years,” Dorothy said, along with a friend, Joan Vanderwerker. Dorothy is a lifelong resident of Springfield Center, and Vanderwerker, now from Cherry Valley, was originally from here and always attends the parade.
A total of 75 units participated in the parade, according to Deb Miller, parade chairwoman, with bands, floats, fire department apparatus from all over the region, plus antique and muscle cars from the 1970s. Iver Lindberg, a local business owner, was the parade’s Grand Marshal.
Civic and other organizations marched as well. The parade theme this year was “Of the People, By the People, For the People,” and while the past was observed by many groups, one group called the Patriot Whistleblowers added a message regarding the present day. One member carried a sign, “Snowden is defending YOUR Constitutional Rights.” Another read, “Spying on the American Public is a Clear Violation of YOUR Constitutional Rights.” A marcher wore a paper bag over the top of his head labeled, “Data Mega Storage.”
Youngsters watching the parade might have thought that this was Halloween, with the amount of candy tossed to them by many participating parade units. In the spirit of future shade for our area’s landscape, the Otsego County Land Trust gave many onlookers small tree saplings to be planted.