NORTHVILLE - New organizers breathed fresh life into the Fourth of July parade here on Saturday, the unofficial beginning of both the Doin's festival and the summer tourism season for the village.
It featured all of the staples - fire trucks from area volunteer departments, the Broadalbin-Perth Color Guard, Northville High School Marching Band, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, classic cars, classic clowns, horse drawn carriages and candy being thrown from all three - old traditions brought back again, and new attractions seen for the first time. Miss Fulton County 2013 Katelynn Smith was on hand, and so was Miss New York State 1963 Barbara Sperry, a village resident.
Chris Edwards, a grade-school teacher at Northville Central School District, was chairman of this year's parade committee. One of the features he brought back to the parade was the tradition of having microphoned announcers, himself and Sperry, introducing each of the parade participants and commenting on the event as the parade marched through the packed downtown area.
The Stilt Dancers, a pair of performers from Connecticut, entertain the large crowd at Saturday's parade in Northville. (Photo by Jason Subik/The Leader-Herald)
"Years ago, this is what it used to be. When the Doin's was located where the post office is now, they used to set up in the old hotel, in the very top balcony and announce the parade participants as they came by, as we did today," he said.
Sperry said this year's parade harkens back to the grand tradition of Fourth of July parades in the village.
"What we're trying to do is reminiscent of the old-time parades. We want to bring back to Northville all of the history and the fun, and I think you saw that today with all of the floats and the support of the people. I truly mean this: There is no better place to be than Northville, N.Y., in the summer," she said.
One of the new attractions of the parade were the Stilt Dancers, a pair of performers from Connecticut who towered over the other participants, wearing black tuxedos and top hats, despite the intense heat.
Prize money was given for the top floats, and first prize of $250 went to the Sacandaga Park Association, which had a float with an "Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty" theme.
Second prize of $200 went to the Timeless Tavern, which had a "Red White and Blue Rocket"-themed float, which included water balloon bombs and squirt guns to help cool off the crowd.
Kristin Ginter, a resident of Edinburgh, brought her two daughters, Karissa, 11, and Kailyn, 9, to enjoy the parade Saturday. She said her family always attends the Doin's.
"The parade was incredible compared to past years; it was much bigger, much more involved," Ginter said, though she said the rest of the Doin's appeared to be "a little disappointing."
The Doin's festival is organized by the Northville Civic Association. The event included a screening of the movie "The Great and Powerful Oz" at 9 p.m. Friday in the village park, food vendors and crafts from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday in the village park, as well as music by Saratoga-based band "Crossfire" and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Tom Wood, owner of the Timeless Tavern, was one of the key organizers of the parade this year. He said next year, the entire Doin's festival will be managed by the same team as the parade, and he expects the event to have a similar revival.
"It's going to be a much larger attraction next year," he said. "The civic association is pretty much bowing out, and it will be a new group running things, hopefully consisting of the parade committee and the Merchants Association. We haven't figured out exactly who yet. Either way, it's going to be taken to a new level."