YOUNGSTOWN – Organizers are hoping for this summer’s wonderful weather to continue for the Labor Day parade at noon Monday along Main Street in Youngstown.
The parade will begin at the south entrance to Fort Niagara State Park, head south along Main Street, and continue to Elliott Street, where it will turn east and end at Veteran’s Park.
The parade will feature marching bands, floats, area police and fire companies, youth groups, politicians, Old Fort Niagara representatives, union and veterans organizations, area businesses and dance troupes.
It is presented by the Porter, Youngstown, Ransomville Business Association (PYRBA), Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce and Village of Youngstown.
Organizers hope paradegoers will later travel four miles east to Porter-on-the-Lake Park on Dietz Road, where community festivities will continue with Summerfest from 3 to 9 p.m., ending with fireworks over Lake Ontario.
The Youngstown parade pays tribute to the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Company, which more than 80 years ago began this tradition – along with its popular Field Days on Labor Day Weekend.
But, in recent years, the Youngstown volunteers joined a growing list of local fire companies forced to drop their parades and field days due to rising costs, lower returns and scarcity of amusement rides.
The firefighters rallied for the company’s 100th anniversary in 2011 and held it again in 2012 and 2013, but activities were reduced in 2014.
It now holds other smaller fundraisers, instead.
When the firefighters could no longer sustain it, about 20 local citizens held their own Labor Day Parade in 2014, carrying on the tradition.
Last year, the PYRBA became involved, helping attract 40 local entries.
“The parade’s mission is to represent heroes, both military and first responders and American labor through many unions who have now found a home to celebrate labor in a quaint, all-American setting,” said Aaron Dey, of the PYRBA.
“It celebrates small businesses, family, American ingenuity, community organizations, pride, undying goodness and our spirit and heritage. It is an old-fashioned, all-American celebration open to everyone.”