July 4, 2011
Long-time parade goers said the Delaware City celebrations continue to be a Fourth of July highlight. They added, however, that the festivities are about more than getting just the best spot on the sidewalk.
“I see the flag and I start crying,” said Gail Skatzes, a Delaware resident since 1970. “I can’t believe people are trying to kill us.”
Skatzes described the holiday as “emotional.” Indeed, as the flag-carrying veterans marched past, even the crowd members stopped cheering for candy, removed their Uncle Sam novelty hats, and applauded.
It was also, as Laurie Gardner put it, “a lot of fun.”
“I appreciate the fact that we have the freedom to do all these things,” said Gardner, a resident since 1985. The free admission and beautiful weather were additional bonuses, she added.
The parade took off at about 3 p.m., traveling from the Delaware County fairgrounds’ Liberty Street gate to Sandusky Street to Wilmer Street to Henry Street. About 75 groups participated, according to Carolyn Sloan, spokewoman for the Delaware County Farm Bureau (DCFB).
This was the second consecutive year the DCFB sponsored the parade. Sloan said this year differed from the 2010 parade, which reflected the heated political climate of the time.
This year, Sloan said the co-marshal canine car was one of the spotlight features. It featured Argo, the service dog who has won honors and awards for his contribution to local law enforcement.
“I think it’s great that the community chose to include our animals as part of our freedom process,” said Sloan.
Another featured participant was the Joat Mon Tree Farm, which won the Mayor’s Choice award. Sloan said this honor is typically given to the group that most closely fits the parade theme, which this year was “What We Do on the Fourth of July.”
Other distinctions included the most patriotic, which went to Blymer St. Crew; the best military-related unit, M35 A2C Deuce and a half; the best non-commercial, Veterans of Foreign Wars; the best horse-pulled unit, B & B Carriage; the best tractor unit, Buckeye Tractor Group; best classic car, owners Brian and Connie Skinner; and “other,” Delaware Daughters of the American Revolution.
Sloan said the participants were judged for theme, originality, workmanship and patriotism. The winners received a large rosette ribbon, Sloan said; everyone got a participation ribbon.
The crowd did not leave empty-handed, either. From mini beach balls to frisbees, the younger parade-goers left with bags full of goodies. The family-style event also included marching bands, baton-twirlers, cartwheeling dance groups, and a variety of community groups who energized the crowd.
As one of the Boy Scouts said as he waved to the spectators, “May the Fourth be with you.”