ALPLAUS — There will still be a Fourth of July parade in Alplaus this year, but it will be much different because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The traditional gathering of up to 1,000 people in the hamlet to watch and celebrate at the firehouse won’t be possible this year because of concerns about crowds spreading the virus, but a scaled-down parade will instead come to the people — touring through the neighborhoods served by the Alplaus Fire Department.
The decision to go ahead with a modified parade, rather than cancel the community event entirely, was made earlier this month by local residents and the Fire Department.
“I could not let the tradition die,” said Alplaus Fire Chief Drew Coppola, whose father was among organizers of the first parade in 1975. “I’ve missed one parade out of the whole series. We’ve been doing this for nearly half a century.”
The Alplaus parade and community celebration, which is organized through the volunteer Fire Department, has become a local tradition. In the recent past, it has grown to include more than 50 organizations and between 250 and 300 parade participants, along with a spectator crowd. This year, naturally, the event will be scaled back.
There are new guidelines for the parade, and the associated kid’s carnival, ecumenical service and community block party have all been canceled. The parade will still start at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 4, its usual time, and will take an estimated hour or a little longer to tour through the neighborhoods.
Dan and Barb Trask, community volunteers, have been designated “Citizens of the Year” and will ride at the head of the parade.
The Alplaus, Rexford and East Glenville fire apparatus are all expected to participate, along with the Glenville Police Department. Other vehicles will carry members of the Alplaus Residents Association and federal, state, town and county elected officials. Coppola estimated there will be 20 to 25 vehicles involved, taking a slow tour.
“We’ll go at a snail’s pace, waving to everyone,” Coppola said.
Residents who want to view the parade are asked not to line up along Alplaus Avenue, but to stay on their porches or in their front yards. There will be no parking allowed at the firehouse or along the streets in the hamlet.
Guidelines for the parade include all participants being in vehicles. There will be no walking in the parade, and no handouts of items like candy or direct contact with the public. (Not that candy might not accidentally fall of a truck, though.)
The route will start, as it usually has, at Glencliff School. It will then proceed down Riverview Road to Alplaus Avenue. It will wind through the hamlet’s side streets, back to Alplaus Avenue, up Maple Avenue to Woodcrest Drive and through Woodhaven, then across Glenridge Road into the streets of the St. Anthony Lane neighborhood before ending there.
“We hope and expect that the full Fourth of July Celebration will return against next year, bigger and better than ever,” organizers said in announcing the changes.