Photo by Barbara Whitford
Girl Scouts from Warrensburg wave at spectators lining the street as their float moves through town during a parade held July 4 during ‘Warrensburg Day’ festivities.
Citizens of the town of Warrensburg celebrated their heritage in style Thursday July 4 as they participated in Warrensburg Day in observance of the town’s 200th birthday.
The celebration featured the most extensive and festive parade held in the town over the last several decades, as well as family activities and historical displays that followed at the town recreation field.
The parade included a 12-foot-tall Yankee Doodle Dandy character, various floats by community groups and organizations, and a procession of antique cars. Featured in the parade were Hoddy Ovitt and Jim Davis, playing their locally-bred mountain music as they rode in a hay wagon provided by Thousand Acres Ranch.
Local seniors rode in vehicles as a reminder of the town’s ongoing heritage, organizers said. The parade also featured the Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Co. in formal attire and Warrensburg Emergency Squad, along with other local organizations.
The procession was routed down Elm Street, past the judges Tom and Teresa Lloyd and Amy Langworthy, who were situated in lawn chairs on the Lloyd’s Elm St. driveway. Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty, long-time president of the fire company, served as Grand Marshal for the procession. He rode in the company’s 1936 Ford fire truck. Local firefighters pulled their antique 1878 chemical cart in the parade.
The judges awarded the Warrensburg firefighters as “Best Dressed,” The American Legion float as “Most Patriotic,” the United Methodist Church float as “Most Original,” and the float bearing Girl Scouts as “Cutest.”
The prize-winning float sponsored by the Warrensburgh Historical Society featured a model of the town’s premier landmark, the Floyd Bennett Memorial Bandstand as well as a giant birthday cake. The replica was built by Rick Lathrop of Warrensburg.
The highlight of the celebration at the recreation field was the presentation of two large celebratory bicentennial cakes baked by Judy Pennock with ingredients donated by Lazy River Farms.
With the cakes held aloft at the Recreation field stage, the crowd sang Happy Birthday to the town, after which slices were handed out to the public.
Community groups and enterprises with displays at the recreation field pavilion included the American Legion offering patriotic mementos, a display by the Welcome Buddies 4-H group, and booths of several local businesses. Enzo Optics, a local optical laboratory and manufacturer, was represented, with firm principals Jayson Hopper and Scott Joseph offering sunglasses for a mere $1.
J. Gallup Farms sold homemade pies and other baked goods. Local girl scouts Angie Miller, Alyssa Birkholz, Jordan Santisteban, Heather Wood and Zoe Morgan entertained children with face painting, and other scouts made fresh lemonade on site.
The Warrensburg Historical Society hosted an extensive display of photos and materials from the Warrensburgh Museum of Local History’s ongoing bicentennial exhibit, while the Adirondack Recorder Band played Baroque tunes nearby.
On the recreation field, Del Chambers of the Society conducted croquet games, and activities were offered for children. Free rides in an oxcart pulled by a team of mules were provided by Todd and Flo Olden.
The event included a dramatic fly-over by two warplanes: John Alexander of Warrensburg piloted a PT-23 Fairchild, and Don Latterell of Queensbury was behind the throttle of a PT-17 Stearman biplane. The stunt prompted cheers from the crowd.
The event was well-attended and deemed such a success that organizers have since fielded requests to hold the event annually, event coordinator Donna Combs said.
“We’re happy so many people turned out to celebrate the town’s 200th birthday,” she said, noting that organizing it required many hours of work over a year’s time or more.
Town historian Sandi Parisi agreed.
“I’m thrilled with the participation, and hope that a group of people will undertake organizing this July 4th celebration and keep it going for years to come,” she said.