CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – For more than 50 years, the Canfield community celebrated Independence Day with a big parade until last year when the pandemic canceled just about everything.
This year, however, things are getting back to normal again, and thousands lined up along Broad Street and the Village Green to see the bands, fire trucks and marching units.
Hours before the parade got underway, people started gathering with their lawn chairs and blankets. At the Canfield Fairgrounds, those taking part in the parade started lining up.
Dan Gibboney, of the local Argus Lodge, said the COVID-19 pandemic not only canceled last year’s parade, but it also kept his group from even getting together.
“We weren’t even sure if the parade was going to happen this year. It’s been a rough year. We’re finally emerging out from under it and, hopefully, it continues on,” Gibboney said.
The same was true for local youth groups like 4-H.
“Our goal is to represent all the youth organizations, especially 4-H and so just being in the parade, people are able to see us, and we’re able to see them because we really missed them,” said Sarah DeLucia, of New Middletown.
“We can be with our friends and family and spend time with each other and not have to worry. We can focus on the little things again,” said Jacob Corll, of Berlin Center.
By the time the first units came into view, thousands lined both sides of the Village Green, including 99-year-old Jim Duffett.
“I tell ya, today looks like the biggest crowd I can remember seeing,” he said.
As disappointing as last year’s cancellation was for members of the small committee that puts all this on each year, seeing all the people return, sitting and standing right next to one another was just as heartwarming.
“It is just very freeing to be able to come down to the Green and see people you know and get back into normalcy that you really missed last year,” said Clare Neff, a spokesperson for the Canfield Parade Committee.
A normalcy everyone hopes will last.
The Canfield Fourth of July Parade has a tradition of being held on Monday when July 4 falls on a Sunday. It’s to accommodate the churches in town.