Last updated: June 30, 2016
This year, the Fourth of July Parade in Hyde Park will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Going along with the theme that they have been promoting all year, the parade will emphasize the importance of the National Park Service on American History, especially their role in Hyde Park.
"We came up with this theme because the sites are such a huge part of Hyde Park," said Diane Cullen, Recreation Leader for the town's recreation department. "We decided to honor the local rangers for all that they do for the park service. A lot of people think the rangers are just law enforcement, but they are so much more. They fight fires, they lead historic tours, they do maintenance for the grounds, and they help to protect the sites. It's tremendous, really. I don't think Hyde Park would be on the map if it weren't for the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site."
Chief of Interpretation at the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site, Scott Rector, said, "The whole idea is to engage the community and show them how proud they should be to have three national historic sites in their backyard."
But, it's not just about our parks, we are only three units of 412 parks nationwide. The National Park Service has been preserving American history for an entire century, from the Selma to Montgomery Trail where African American men and women marched 54 miles for the right to vote, to the Valley Forge National Historical Park, which protects a revolutionary war encampment, to the most recent addition to the NPS, Stonewall Inn, the first LGBT National Monument in the country located in New York City.
The Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site will be representing the National Park Service in this year's parade and our rangers will be leading the way as the grand marshals. We will have two floats and one of our law enforcement vehicles as well as over 20 volunteers, employees and interns walking on foot. The Frederick Vanderbilt Garden Association will also be walking alongside us.
The first float will have a sign that points to other national parks and their distance from Hyde Park. The second float will have a ranger hat to symbolize all the hard work that goes into preserving our parks. And the walkers will hold a huge sign that says "Happy Birthday National Park Service."
"It's really important to have as many people involved with the park walking in the parade as we can," said Rector. "Because it takes all of us, volunteers, interns, rangers, to make this park what it is. Without them, it would fall apart."
The parade will start at 9 a.m. at the Roosevelt Cinemas and end at Regina Coeli. This is the only Fourth of July parade in all of Dutchess County, so thousands are expected to come out this year, according to Cullen.
There will be 10 floats going along with the National Park Service theme and at the end of the parade there will be a competition for the best float based on appearance, costumes, performance, special effects and theme. The winner will receive a trophy. There will also be a ceremony honoring the park service by giving a plaque to the park's new superintendent Larry Turk.
We are grateful to our community in Hyde Park and the continued care and support we receive every year. Happy Independence Day! Check back in next week on ParkChat for a story about the Marist Fashion Department's Spring Magazine, which showcases our park and history.
"There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and the wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of the great human principle." —Franklin Delano Roosevelt