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Springfield Fourth of July Parade Grand Marshals Jonathan and Debra Ann Miller are shown in this undated photo.

After two years without a Fourth of July parade because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the town of Springfield is organizing the parade’s 2022 return.

Organizers announced the parade’s return this week and also announced parade volunteers Debra Ann and Jonathan Miller have been chosen as grand marshals.

According to the release, the Springfield Fourth of July Parade began in 1914 and is believed to be the second-oldest ongoing Independence Day parade in the nation. The parade welcomes fire departments, veterans’ groups, and community organizations from all over the region to be honored in an hour-long procession featuring floats, marching bands, equestrians and more.

This year, as the town of Springfield (established in 1797) marks its 225th anniversary, the theme “Hometown 4th of July — Enduring Traditions” invites the community to share its favorite American traditions in the parade, the release said.

The 2022 parade will take place beginning at 11 a.m. Monday, July 4. Spectators can follow the parade to the Springfield Community Center for a celebration featuring Brooks’ barbecued chicken and other foods, music by the Cooperstown Community Band, the ninth annual Fourth of July Quilt Show, historical displays by the Springfield Historical Society and the Fort Plain Museum, 4H farm animals, raffles and more.

On the evening of the fourth, a free concert by The Council Rock Band will take place at Glimmerglass State Park starting at 7:30 p.m., to be followed by a display of fireworks at dusk.

On Sunday, June 26, the Glimmerglass Festival will hold a “Springfield Appreciation Concert” at the Alice Busch Opera Theater. The concert will highlight performers and songs from this seasons’ shows, including The Sound of Music, and Carmen. General admission tickets for the concert can be purchased for $5 each, and all proceeds support the Springfield Fourth of July Parade.

According to a media release, Jonathan Miller joined the parade committee in 1985 when it was headed by Jeanette Smith, then town historian. Debra joined the committee a few years later and became chair of the group before the 100th anniversary of the parade in 2014.

“As Fourth of July Committee Chair, one of Debra’s favorite sayings is ‘many hands make light work,’ however anyone who has worked on the committee in recent years can attest that the Millers seem to do everything and be everywhere when it comes to the parade,” the release said.

According to the release, the Millers were married in January 1981 and moved to Springfield that April to start a dairy farm and build a house together. They have had two children together, adopted three more, and fostered many others.

Both serve as emergency medical technicians and are members of Springfield’s Volunteer Fire Department. Jonathan has also served for many years as health officer for the town.

Debra is self-employed as a clinical social worker, and Jonathan has recently retired from his work at the Bassett Hospital Emergency Department, the release said.

The Millers are both ordained elders at the Springfield Presbyterian Church, which they joined in 1985, the release said. Debra is an authorized lay preacher.

According to Ernie Whiteman, who has taken over the duties committee chair from Debra, “Deb and Jon have been the driving force to put together one of the finest parades and celebrations in Central New York.

After taking over for Deb as chairman two years ago and having the event canceled due to COVID, it finally hit me this year as to the great job and many, many hours they both put into it. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and salute two amazing people for all they have done to make this event the success that it is.”

For more information, visit Springfield 4th of July Parade and Celebration on Facebook, or email springfield.july4@gmail.com

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