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July 11, 2013

Springfield Fourth of July Parade nears century mark

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Joseph Homburger, a board member of the Land Trust said, “We gave away white spruce and balsam fir, about 1,000 of them. We got them from the state nursery in Saratoga.”

When the parade truly started in 1914, baseball was played afterward between local town teams. While this is no longer a tradition, the Cooperstown Hawkeyes marched yesterday, but had to leave early in order to get some practice in at Doubleday Field before their game against the Watertown Wizards.

After the last unit passed, most formed their own parade to the Springfield Community Center for a variety of events. Melita Oldick, a student at Owen D. Young Central School sang the national anthem, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator read the Gettysburg Address, and many enjoyed a concert by the Cooperstown Community Band. Barbecued chicken and other foods and beverages were available. Numerous awards and prizes were given for best school bands, fire department units, floats and a total of 13 decorated bicycles. A 1913 Fourth of July gathering at nearby Ryerson Field featured a bicycle parade, thought to be the idea that sparked a more spectacular parade in 1914.

Miller said she was pleased with the day overall and thrilled that fire departments and organizations from Fort Plain and Canajoharie could make it, given last week’s devastating floods in their communities.

Next comes the centennial celebration of the parade in 2014. Miller said the planning began about six months ago, but the committee has taken the last two months off to focus on this year’s parade. Miller said the 2014 event will include more than one day, and have many additional special activities, concerts and fireworks in the evening.

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