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Once again, everybody loves a Memorial parade
Ironton isn’t the only community to claim the mantle of “oldest Memorial Day parade.”
Other communities - including Portsmouth, Va.; Alton, Ill.; and Malvern, Pa. - say their parades are either the oldest or the oldest continuously running, but Mrs. Pyles isn’t buying it.
When it comes to the biggest parade, however, there’s no competition.
The Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade in Queens, N.Y., advertises itself as the nation’s largest such parade, and it’s hard to argue with that.
“It’s New York. What do you expect?” said parade chairman James J. Rodgers.
The parade draws up to 80,000 spectators and includes more than 30,000 participants. The budget for the 2009 parade is between $85,000 and $95,000, which includes the stage, bleachers, banners, trophies and honoraria for the marchers.
Fundraising is a year-round activity for the parade committee, which is a private, nonprofit corporation.
“One reason we may have morphed into the largest parade is that the other parades in this area didn’t have the ability or weren’t able to raise the funds,” said Mr. Rodgers.
The parade has never had a shortage of spectators, he said, although there’s been an infusion of younger people in recent years. The parade committee also puts on an essay contest, a veterans’ assistance fund and a war-monument restoration effort.
When it comes to parade time, the focus is on those who served.
“It’s not about whether we’re the biggest. It’s all about paying homage to the men and women who served our country,” Mr. Rodgers said. “We take a little corner of Long Island and northeastern Queens and morph it into ‘Mayberry, RFD’ for a day.”
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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