Fourth Of July Frenzy

MAYVILLE – It didn’t rain on Mayville’s Fourth of July Parade.

Despite iffy-looking clouds and a few early morning showers, the weather cleared in time for Mayville’s celebration Thursday. Mayville’s Grand Parade, which serves as Chautauqua County’s official parade, travels directly down North Erie Street, and is a conglomeration of floats of all shapes and sizes, along with classic cars, horseback riders, fire trucks and bands. Together, it creates a spectacular show for attendees.

As in other years, hundreds gathered to watch the parade, lining the streets with families. Children held bags, intending to gather as much candy being tossed from the floats as possible.

Stephanie Knopp of Westfield was in attendance, along with her fiance and two children. Knopp said she has been attending the Grand Parade her entire life, and it’s now an experience she can share with her own children.

“I like the diversity. You get to see the horses, you get to see fire engines. The kids love the sirens. You have all the groups in the community coming together,” Knopp said. “Chautauqua Institution is open, so you have that crowd coming. So, you have a really diverse crowd, and it’s great to have your children also experience that in such a small town.”

Beginning the procession was the county Sheriff’s Office, followed by deputies on horseback. The groups participating in the parade were as diverse as ever, from the Blue Star Mothers, to the Chadwick Bay Buccaneers, to a group called “Diana’s Warriors Against Breast Cancer,” to a variety of local fire departments, to name a few. Additionally, Assemblyman Andrew Goodell,R-Chautauqua County, marched in the parade, as did County Executive Greg Edwards. Several hopeful political candidates joined the parade as well, including Ron Johnson and Vince Horrigan, who are each hoping to come out on top for the county executive seat; Larry Barmore, who is running for county clerk; and Martha Robertson, who is running for United States Congress.

Although many watched the parade over the course of its two-hour run, some only caught snippets as they worked. Amber Ludwig and Michaela Yaw have been working at Boxcar Barney’s for two and three years, respectively. With the parade happening just down the street and festivities across the street in Mayville Park, the girls said the day moves quick with the number of people the ice cream stand serves.

“It’s so busy. There are so many people,” Yaw said.

“It’s crazy. You get to see a bunch of different people from all over, and they come to us to get ice cream,” Ludwig added. “We have a line to the sidewalk all day.”

For the parade participants, though, it is a different story.

“We participate in the Independence Day parade to celebrate the birth of our nation with the community,” said Shawn Babcock, captain of the Falconer Volunteer Fire Department, who rode on one of Falconer’s engines in the Grand Parade.

For those in, watching and working the parade, this Fourth of July will likely be one to remember.