Clara Swanson, of Arizona, said she dresses up for the parade every year.
- For those who spent the month of June waiting indoors for the rain clouds to clear and summer to officially begin, the Southampton Village Fourth of July Parade was surely the kick-off to summer you've been waiting for.
Chock full of dignitaries, rock bands and fun floats, the 10 a.m. parade spanned more than two hours, beginning at the Southampton train station, and culminating in an official review at the Agawam Park
Former New York City
Mayor Rudy Giuliani
and his wife Judith rode in style as parade judges, while local officials, veterans, and residents made their way down Main Street to the beat of drums, bagpipes and gunshots (just for show, of course). From floats made of gigantic fruit and vegetables to Elvis himself, the village parade was one big party.
But the celebration wasn't without its serious notes. Mid-way through, children atop John Deere tractors paid tribute to the late Richard "Rick" Fowler, a Southampton firefighter who passed away June 6 at the age of 50. Felix Novelli, a Southampton resident and World War II veteran, led the parade as its grand marshal. And perhaps with the greatest honor of all, Bill Frankenbach, whose family has been organizing the parade for decades, was presented with an American flag once flown over the U.S. Capitol and a proclamation naming the first floor of Veterans Hall the "Frankenbach Room," by Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley
Parade organizer Bill Frankenbach, right, called his honor, "the greastest thing that has happened to me in 47 years."
"I'm speechless," Frankenbach offered after receiving his special recognition. "This is the best thing that's happened to me in 47 years."
The sidewalks were packed with parade-watchers and revelers, all with a great seat for the day's festivities. Here's hoping that the weather clears and the spirit of the Fourth will live on for the rest of the summer!