Ypsilanti keeps up traditions with Michigan's longest-running 4th of July parade
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
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“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 AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.