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County salutes Old Glory for Independence Day


By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

There was plenty of red, white and blue to be found at the Independence Day parade in East Durham on Saturday. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

EAST DURHAM — Hundreds turned out to salute America for its 247th birthday.

This year’s Independence Day was celebrated a couple of days early on Saturday, July 1, and there was plenty of patriotism and community spirit to be found.

Roughly 50 units marched in this year’s parade, with marchers walking and riding on floats, and tossing candy to eagerly waiting children who lined Route 145 for the festivities.

“This is a very active community here. East Durham has really grown a lot and they do have an active community,” Athens resident Carol Engelmann said as she waited for the parade to start. “I’ve come to this parade for at least five years now and my grandchildren love it. It’s just hometown wonderful.”

The parade is hosted each year by the Durham Task Force and is one of the few Fourth of July parades held in Greene County each year.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Department led off last weekend’s Fourth of July parade. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Task force member Linda Sutton has been spearheading the parade’s organization for more than a decade. She said planning for the event typically begins in April.

“I love it. I love everybody coming together — it’s fun,” Sutton said. “It’s a lot of work but it’s lots of fun. The parade is a great community event — everybody gets the chance to come out and see their neighbors.”

The parade was led by members of the color guard of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, followed by numerous police agencies, fire departments, businesses, community groups and elected officials, including Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102, the parade’s grand marshal, and U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-19.

A colonial regiment marching band and an Irish pipe band also participated, along with several horses and donkeys that donned red, white and blue for the festivities.

Even the donkeys were patriotic in Durham this weekend. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

“This parade brings people together,” said Greenville resident Adessa Rice. “It’s nice to see all the patriotism. It gives you a good feeling.”

Not all paradegoers were local — Bob and Debbie Mattison were on hand from Arlington, Vermont, traveling to visit their daughter, who lives in Freehold.

Bob Mattison is a former longtime firefighter and has marched in his share of parades.

“I’ve been in so many parades, now it’s my turn to watch them,” he said. “I think it’s even more important, given the state of the country, for people to come out and remember days like today.”

Durham Task Force member Brian Goff said the annual parade gives people the opportunity to display their patriotism and get together with neighbors.

Marchers and floats tossed candy to eagerly awaiting kids. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

“It’s about community spirit and it gives everyone a chance to get out and salute the flag and just feel patriotic for a day,” Goff said. “It makes me feel like there is still pride in the country and in the flag. It’s just good to see so many organizations, also, that respond to July 4th as the birth of the nation.”

After the parade’s conclusion, everyone gathered at the Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural and Sports Centre for hot dogs, ice cream, music and kids’ activities, including a bounce house.

This was the parade’s 27th year.

Here are more images from this weekend’s parade:

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