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Posted on Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

Ypsilanti keeps up traditions with Michigan's longest-running 4th of July parade

By Chelsea Hoedl


Ypsilanti during the Fourth of July parade.

Courtney Sacco |

More than 50 groups marched through Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town on Thursday morning in celebration of Independence Day as residents lining the streets watched the festivities.

The 84th annual Ypsilanti Independence Parade, sponsored by the American Legion and the Ypsilanti Area Jaycees, began promptly at 11 a.m. led by the Forty and Eight, a train from World War I.

“I’ve been coming for 20 years,” said Bob Field, member of the American Legion and Ypsilanti resident . “As long as I’ve lived here I’ve made it out. The Forty and Eight is my favorite part, although I also enjoy seeing the politicians out in the community.”

Field isn’t the only one who enjoys watching politicians march in the parade. When 7-year-old Fiona Dority is asked to list her favorite parts of the parade, the list goes: the car that goes backward and forward, the Shriners and "of course the candy," but she and her friends also look forward to seeing Ypsilanti’s mayor, Paul Schreiber.

“We come for the candy, but also Paul’s here,” Dority said. “He’s the mayor of Ypsilanti and he lives near us.”

Dority’s mom nodded and said her children look forward to seeing the politicians every year and have been coming to the parade since they were born.

Since the inception of the Ypsilanti Independence Parade, politicians have been joining the festivities, the Forty and Eight has rolled down the streets and groups like the Daughters of the American Revolution have come out to show their patriotism.

“I’ve been in the parade for the past 10 years now,” said Roberta Kemp, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. “But the organization has been involved since the beginning as far as I know. We like to show what we stand for and it’s fun seeing the children participating and getting excited about this country.”

One of the event organizers and the Community Vice President of the Ypsilanti Area Jaycees Toni Auker said it was her first year planning the event.

“I think it’s something that’s really important to the community and I’ve enjoyed helping to put it together this year,” Auker said. “We have a lot of really great groups, including the newly combined district’s marching band and cheer team. I think it says a lot that they were able to pull together so quickly and wanted to be a part of the festivities.”

The Ypsilanti Community Schools marching band only had time for three rehearsals before the parade, according to Linda Leonard, a parent of one of the band members .

“This is really good for district unity and the kids love to be a part of the band,” Leonard said. “It’s about community unity as well. It’s important that they come together and support their community.”

The Lincoln High School Band also marched in the parade.

“It’s a long-standing tradition,” band director Leslie Schwegler said. “It’s good for us to support our community and it’s something the students really enjoy.”

Auker said she looks forward to working on the annual parade in the future.

“I hope this is something that sticks with the community for years to come,” Auker said. “It’s great to see all these people participating and enjoying this day.”

Chelsea Hoedl is an intern reporter for She can be reached at



Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

Why no pictures?


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:16 a.m.

Bob, As of yesterday, there was only ONE picture (besides the above) of the Ypsilanti Parade that I saw. Was other pictures added since yesterday? Also last year, attendees of the parade were allowed by to submit their OWN pictures for inclusion in the online paper -- after review. What happened to this, this year? I believe it helped give readers, who otherwise could not attend Michigan's LONGEST running parade a decent overview of the event.

Bob Needham

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

Photos from both the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor parades are in a separate post linked to at the top of the story:

Dog Guy

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

The above photo shown Engine 957 in the distance. A larger image would cause a street-choo-choo-envy fit in Ann Arbor.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 11:17 a.m.

Politicians are the highlight? Really? I saw 20 or so Dingell signs carried by people wearing Team Dingell signs, which distracted from the parade. Only "Dingell" was his wife. Other politicians were less "in your face".


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 5:11 a.m.

Plenty of pictures of Ann Arbor's Parade but one picture of the longest running parade in the State? Maybe Ypsilanti needs it on news resource or online paper. Also, the politicians although nice, did not need to be mentioned three times in the article.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 5:13 a.m.

Correction, "own" instead of "on".

Mike Hulsebus

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 1:20 a.m.

2nd related link is missing the tag that closes the link


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

Too bad Ann.Com didn't have a reporter at the longest continuous Independence parade in the state .If they did they would have seen an outstanding parade . Of more importance they would have know it was lead by The Ypsi police honor guard followed by the Washtenaw Sheriff and Vietnam Veterans of America Post Chapter 310. It was not lead by the 40 and 8


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 11:15 a.m.

Correct. Those that actually went agree.


Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 11:30 p.m.

Ypsi rocks, don't care what anyone else thinks. We are Ypsi, we are history.

Ann English

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 1:36 a.m.

I know you better for your Heritage Festival than for any parade.


Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

Chelsea, Great job, Miss Intern! And I'm glad to see that the Ypsi Community Schools band was active in the parade. 3 rehearsals isn't much but they were great. Thanks again for the nice Ypsi parade write up. Cash

Chelsea Hoedl

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

Thanks, Cash. Glad you enjoyed it. I had a great time covering it!