by Elizabeth A. Tomlin
Springfield, NY, a small town where the population is just over 1,300, where agriculture is showcased and family is still priority, has plenty of reasons to celebrate — and this 4th of July gave them one more reason!
“The Town of Springfield held its 100th Anniversary Parade and Celebration for Independence Day on Friday, July 4th,” said Deb Miller, parade committee chairwoman.
Miller said Springfield “hosted a crowd of thousands for this event while remaining true to tradition.”
The parade, which is said to be the second longest running 4th of July parade in the United States, featured 100 entries in the line-up for the 100th parade.
“The winning Adult Division float was an entry from the Pullis family of Roedale Farm,” Miller reported. Roedale’s Farm Family float boasted a sign proclaiming “Our cows. Our crops. Our kids. Our business. All locally grown.” Pullis family members threw packages of cheese to the crowds lining the street to commemorate the many generations of dairy farming in the community.
“Springfield is definitely an agricultural community. Absolutely!” declared Roedale Farm partner Jason Pullis.
Pullis said that this was the second time they’ve had a farm float in the parade.
“This was a special year for the parade because it was the 100th anniversary,” Pullis explained. “We’ve been in the community for over 43 years, so we’ve been members of the community for a long time and this parade is important to the community.”
Pullis said it is amazing to see the huge amount of people that flock to Springfield every year, from all over — even out of state — to take part in the 4th of July Parade and festivities every year. “This is a 4th of July destination!”
Pullis spoke about how so much of the media has smeared the reputation of farmers by dramatizing negative stories.
“We like to take every chance that we can get to promote agriculture and farming,” he said. “We want to show the positive side of farming — and the family side of it!”
The Otsego County Dairy Princess Sandra Mravlja and members of her Court were also present to participate in the parade and to share dairy facts with children and adults alike.
“Dairy is nature’s most perfect food,” said Mravlja. “Get your 3-a-day, so you can get your 9-a-day. Your 9-a-day are your 9 essential nutrients; which include calcium, vitamin A, B12, D and niacin, protein, riboflavin, phosphorus and potassium.”
Mravlja and her Court distributed hundreds of yogurt “tubes” that were donated by Chobani especially for the occasion.
Other farms and organizations participated in the parade, representing more aspects of agriculture.
Stannard Maple Farm of Cherry Valley, Cary Mede Farm of Springfield and 89-year-old Leland Collins, of Jordanville, retired dairy farmer, each had singular themes to portray. A detailed float also represented the Leatherstocking Beekeepers Association.
Members of the Otsego Land Trust handed out 2,000 seedling trees to the hundreds of people that lined the street.
Teams of horses pulling decorated wagons delighted the children and adults alike and over two-dozen saddle horses from various horse clubs brought up the rear of the parade.
“As has been the case for decades, the parade lineup was filled with volunteer Fire Departments, school bands, marching Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and many floats from local community service organizations, small business and local families,” reported Miller.
The 100 year 4th of July celebration continued after the parade with musical entertainment by the Cooperstown Community Band and Fritz Henry, food and games, raffles, a quilt show, community group displays, and a ‘100 Years’ slide show, which entertained the enormous crowd throughout the afternoon. People relocated to Glimmerglass State Park in the evening to enjoy a free concert by Jeff Walton on the beach. “The evening was topped off with spectacular fireworks over Otsego Lake!” Miller added.
Miller, who is a retired dairy farmer has been involved with the 4th of July Parade Committee for 10 years. “I love it! It’s part of who I am! My kids have been raised on the farm in this town and they’ve been raised to be involved in their community!”
Springfield, NY celebrates 100th, 4th of July Parade and festivities
by Elizabeth A. Tomlin