By Cady Kuzmich
CLIFTON PARK — Clifton Park’s annual Fourth of July celebration began with a parade midday on Monday.
Marchers gathered at Shenendehowa Central School’s main entrance before walking west on Route 146, then south on Vischer Ferry Road until they finished at the Clifton Commons where the rest of the festivities took place.
Two marching bands, The Capital District Marching band and the City of Albany Pipe Band, walked through the streets of Clifton Park with youth organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and veteran’s groups. After the parade, Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett officially kicked off the festivities at the Commons.
Clifton Park boasts the “largest locally sponsored fireworks display” in the Capital Region.
“Nothing says God bless America’s liberty and freedom like a good firework display! The fireworks are definitely my favorite part,” said Clifton Park Councilwoman Amy Standaert.
“Celebrating America’s independence is especially important for us in Clifton Park because we recognize, value and respect the sacrifices that so many patriots have made and continue to make for our freedom,” she said.
Standaert said the sacrifices made by the nation’s patriots who fought and continue to fight for freedom “can never be taken advantage of or forgotten.”
Standaert added, “Like my parents instilled in me, my children are very well informed on the founding of our country, the sacrifices made for our freedom and exactly why we celebrate the Fourth of July. I do hope that every child marching in or watching our parade understand that as well.’
Clifton Park Town Supervisor, Phil Barrett said “Freedom must be defended and appreciated every day or it will disappear. Independence Day is a celebration of what brings us together — we are all Americans. American ideals, freedoms and rule of law are the source of our nation’s identity. This too must be defended and appreciated every day or we will lose our way.”
The town’s Parks and Recreation Director Myla Kramer said, with good weather, the town can expect about 12,000 people to come out for the July 4 celebration each year.
A craft show, a petting zoo, free pony rides and amusement rides were open from noon till 8 p.m, though tickets were required for the amusement rides. The food court was open from noon through 10 p.m., offering fare fitting for the event — hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, sausage and peppers, ice cream, fried dough, German food and Greek food. The town brought out its Fire Prevention Bus for kids to explore and learn about fire safety, for free. Youngsters could take pony rides and enjoy a petting zoo free of charge for three hours between 2 and 5 p.m.
The Accents, a local soul-infused ensemble, warmed up for the main act. The Accents took the stage around 5:30 p.m. and played until 7:30 p.m. At 8 p.m., the California Transit Authority, led by Danny Seraphine and Bill Champlin, both former members of the band Chicago, took the stage. Seraphine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Clifton Park Town Councilman James Whalen said “the best part of Independence Day is the joyous, patriotic spirit.” He added, “It’s a combination of the pageantry, the red white and blue, and the collective sense of national pride that we all feel as Americans.”
Clifton Park’s Fourth of July celebration was sponsored by the Town of Clifton Park, County Waste, Prestige Vending Services, Market 32 and 101.3 The Jockey.