Just when I was about to give up all hope, spring has sprung. Although Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to commit, there’s no denying that winter will be beating a not-so-hasty retreat …
Just when I was about to give up all hope, spring has sprung. Although Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to commit, there’s no denying that winter will be beating a not-so-hasty retreat over the next few weeks, as the snows melt and that big yellow ball in the sky peeks out from time to time. Here in the Upper Delaware River region, there are plenty of signs heralding the return of all things spring: robins are yanking on worms in the yard, the hotly anticipated honking of geese overhead and paw prints that look suspiciously like those of a bear have appeared overnight. As the dog begins her annual search for bones she’s left behind, I furiously make notes regarding all of the spring cleaning projects that I’ll never accomplish, while marking my calendar, already chock-full of my standard “three P’s”—puppet shows, plays and parades.
If you’ve ever read this column, then you’re already aware that I love a good parade, and the Catskills is loaded with ‘em. Be it a celebration of trout (June 8 in Livingston Manor), tractors (June 9 in Callicoon), or the Fourth of July (‘round every corner on both sides of the river). There’s a parade marching down Main Street, USA somewhere near you in the near future. My West Coast friends mock me, but (IMHO) they have no idea what they’re missing. “A Honeybee Festival?” an incredulous pal laughingly said last fall. “What happens at that?” she asked. “Don’t tell me— everyone marches down the street wearing wings.” Of course, we all know the answer to that, and although the swarm doesn’t arrive until autumn (September 28 in Narrowsburg), folks are already buzzing about it. “The official parade-season kickoff is St. Patrick’s Day of course,” I informed my mocking West Coast pal. “Those of us lucky enough to live in the country know how to throw a party!”
In a perfect world, I’d be able to attend them all, but nothing’s perfect, and I’m just one guy, so I do my best to alternate towns. This year, Jeffersonville won the St. Patrick ’s Day lottery and I tossed the dog in a stroller (don’t judge!) and headed out, ignoring the fact that I wasn’t wearing anything green. In fact, I’m the opposite of Irish, but there were plenty of shamrocks and shillelaghs marching in downtown Jeff last Saturday, and the parade—hosted by the Ancient Order of Hybernians (HOH), Sullivan Brothers, and the Jeffersonville Fire Department—was bigger and better than ever. Green-clad enthusiasts lined the streets as folks were treated to festively adorned floats, cool fire trucks of all kinds and some really great bag-piping, including the fantastic Fire Fighter McPadden Pipes and Drums Band based in Goshen, NY. The band is named “in memory of Firefighter Robert McPadden, who gave his life in heroic efforts during the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11, 2001” (www.ffmpad.org). McPadden was a pipe band drummer and an aspiring piper himself, and the band “honors his memory through good music, humor and camaraderie.” That sentiment was evident as the ensemble entertained, followed by the incredible Hudson Valley Regional Police Pipes and Drums Band, formed in 2000 “by a small group of law enforcement officers who are employed or reside within the Hudson Valley Region and are of Irish descent” (www.hvrppd.org). The now sizable and colorful band has donated their services for police graduations, awards ceremonies and parades throughout the region, but are “also available for weddings and parties—from one piper to an entire band, depending on your needs.” Hmmm.
Sandwiched between bagpipers, Girl Scouts and Sullivan County pageant queens strutted through town, followed by a parade of leprechauns tossing candy to the kids and draping shiny green beads on passersby. Dharma was but one of many dogs, some of whom wore costumes, so her stroller barely caused a stir. The bi-polar weather teased the crowd with gusts of wind and intermittent sun and clouds, but didn’t deter anyone from having a wonderful time. I took scads of photos which you can view and share by visiting us online at www.facebook.com/theriverreporter or checking out the photo galleries at www.riverreporter.com.
There are plenty of cavalcades to look forward to long before Labor Day arrives, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see “hippies” in the streets during the coming months, so keep an eye on our calendar section all year long. Wouldn’t want the parade to pass you by.