Shepherdstown parade short, but oh, so sweet

July 04, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • A 15-by-35-foot flag is carried by members of the Shepherdstown Fire Department during the Fourth of July parade Monday in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Ed Zahniser said the best thing about Shepherdstown’s Fourth of July parade is it never lasts too long and he always sees a lot of people he knows marching in it.

The parade, which started to roll down German Street shortly after 3 p.m. Monday, seemed to be over less than 15 minutes later.

Zahniser exaggerated a bit when he said one year the parade was scheduled to start at 11 a.m.

“I went to the post office to pick up my mail at five minutes to 11, and by the time I walked the two blocks (to German Street), it was already over,” he said.

“Fifteen minutes sounds good,” said Michele King, a member of the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown, the annual event’s sponsor.

“It was a perfect parade,” said Del. John Doyle, D-Jefferson, who lives in Shepherdstown. “It had lots of variety and it wasn’t very long.”

“As the oldest town in West Virginia, Shepherdstown appreciates the birth of our nation,” Shepherdstown Mayor Jim Auxer said.

Shepherdstown, then known as Mecklenburg, was incorporated by the then-Virginia General Assembly on the morning of Dec. 23, 1762. It beat Romney in Hampshire County by a few hours. The delegates took up the question of Romney’s incorporation in their afternoon session.

Several patrons lamented the fact there was no band in the lineup.

Rotarian Bill Howard said it’s difficult to round up a school band in the summer.

“Everybody’s gone,” he said.

The Rotarians hope to find a band next year, he said.

The lack of a band made no difference to longtime resident Mary Stanley.

“I love this sort of thing,” Stanley said. “It’s America at its best.”

Parade units included a string of old cars. One that stood out was an original 1972 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Its owner, Craig Comonstofski, took the opportunity to hang a sign on the door saying the vehicle was for sale for $5,000.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts marched, as did the Daughters of the American Revolution, members of Asbury United Methodist Church and the Shepherdstown Business Association.

Alan Bond led the Shepherdstown Fire Department’s fire-and-rescue units down the street in his green 1940 Pirsch pumper. It was long and loud, and it seemed to be a crowd-pleaser.

Nigel Casserley, owner of National Equestrian Communications, volunteers his public-address equipment and announces the parade honoring America’s independence from England.

It’s a bit ironic since Casserley, 66, a naturalized citizen, was born in England.

“Perhaps I should have announced that, ‘The Americans are coming,’” he said.

The day’s activities ended with a community picnic at Shepherdstown’s James Rumsey Park.

The Rotarians ran a concession stand, there were a few crafts booths, a four-band lineup provided music into the evening and there were plenty of things for the kids to do, including a water slide.

Families and friends spread blankets on the park grounds and visited with each other.

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