Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Celebrate July 4th with the 62nd annual Independence Day Parade & Fireworks

Dave Mueller
You know you are from Peekskill if you have ever seen these three start the July 4th Parade. Pictures from the past: The July 4, 2016 Independence Day Parade.

Get your red, white, and blue on, your American flags ready, your patriotism flowing, and get ready to celebrate America’s birthday as the Peekskill and the surrounding communities join together on the streets of downtown to listen to the numerous bands as they play their trumpets, fifes & drums.  Clap and cheer the volunteers that help keep our communities safe at the annual July 4th Peekskill Independence Day Parade sponsored by the Peekskill Volunteer Firefighters Association.

For 62 years, the annual July 4th Parade has brings out the best the City of Peekskill has to offer and continues to be one of the richest and finest traditions the City has. Grab a blanket, a chair, friends, neighbors and family and join together in this community event that is always a highlight of the year.

The July 4th parade kicks off every Independence Day and this year it’s starting at 10:30 am. The PVFA July 4th Committee Chair Tom Walker announced the 2024 parade Grand Marshall will be former First Assistant Chief John J. Kelly III.

Walker noted Kelly has over 25 years of service as a Peekskill volunteer firefighter and previously served as Peekskill’s Mayor. “Chief Kelly has been a big supporter of our Volunteers, and we are pleased to have him as this year’s Grand Marshal.” This year’s Aides to the Grand Marshal will be the past Peekskill Volunteer Chiefs who will be honored at a brief ceremony at the downtown Gazebo during the parade.

As has been the case for the past few years, the parade route is much shorter than the prior decades. The route, approximately 1 mile long, starts on Crompond Road and travels down South Division Street. The parade quickly makes a left turn on First Street, passing in front of Assumption Church before turning right onto Union Avenue near the Peekskill Museum. The parade continues down one block just touching the corner of Union and South Streets making the attempt for the seniors at Wesley Hall to get a glimpse of the Parade and join in the festivities.  

July 4th Parade Route 2024

The parade makes a right turn onto South Street, passing in front of JO’s Body Shop, 140 Kitchen, Wells Fargo, Antonia Arts, Mediterraneo Restaurant, the Field Library Bookstore and Iron Health.

At the end of South Street, the parade will make a left turn near Gleason’s and Slainte and travel up North Division Street towards the Gazebo. The reviewing stand will be in the direct center of the City in front of the Gazebo. 

The parade continues up North Division Street passing through Restaurant Row and before making a right turn at Busy Corner onto Main Street. The final leg of the parade will travel three blocks along Main Street passing in front of Sun River Health Center, the newly reconstructed Pugsley Park, Valley Brook Market, The United Methodist Church, Dunkin Donuts and the back of Crossroads Plaza. Once the parade gets to the corner of Main and Broad Streets, the parade will make a right and end in front of the Peekskill Central Firehouse. 

The Parade is one of the longest lasting and standing traditions in Peekskill dating back over 6 decades. Even in the midst of the height of the Covid 19 pandemic, when the State and Country seemed to be shut down, the members of the Peekskill Fire Department, Peekskill Police Department and the Peekskill Volunteer Ambulance Corps continued the tradition by having a very small parade of a Peekskill and surrounding communities apparatus that traveled through the downtown. 

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The parade is free for everyone to attend. However, as with everything there is a cost to host the parade and pay for the bands that lead each parade division. The cost of bands to perform in the parade has increased over the past few years. Each band that plays ranges from $800 to $1500. In 2022, the Peekskill Volunteer Firefighters Association paid over $13,000 for bands all from donations to the July 4th parade committee. This year the cost of the parade is $16,000. Immediately after the July 4th parade, the PVFA starts raising money for next years parade.

Screenshot from the Peekskill Volunteer Firefighters Association Website. Scan the QR code with your phone or click the picture to link to the PVFA page where you can find the PayPal donate button.

According to Dom Perruccio of the PVFA, “our main source of income has primarily been Fill-the-Boot. Then we try to raise money through selling t-shirts, Christmas ornaments, and re-useable bags. Our Fill-the-Boot donations have fallen off a little since most people do not carry cash, so we created a QR code that links people directly to our PayPal account where they can donate to the parade committee online.” Perruccio continued, “The PVFA will be selling PVFA themed t-shirts and wares after the parade in the parking lot if people are interested in buying a shirt. They can also find us occasionally at the Peekskill Farmers Market. We were just there on June 29th and will be there again in the future.” Follow the Peekskill Farmers Market for when we will be there. 

Community members who enjoy the parade are encouraged to support this yearly event by donating to the Peekskill Volunteer Firefighter’s Association by visiting the Peekskill Volunteer Firefighters Association website and scanning the QR code or clicking the donate button. The QR code  and donate button links directly to the PayPal site where donations can be made. Donations can also be made by dropping a money into the Fill-A-Boot campaign. The last way people can donate is by sending a check to PVFA, Parade Committee at 1141 Main Street, Peekskill, NY 10566. 

Billy and the Showman playing on July 12 at the 2023 City of Peekskill Riverfront Summer Concert Series (Dave Mueller)

Later in the evening, grab a lawn chair and a blanket and head down to the Riverfront Green for the first concert of the Peekskill Parks and Recreations Riverfront Summer Series as featured in the Peekskill Herald. First Class Dance Band, an 8-piece band, will be playing top 40 hits starting at 7:00 pm. 

Around 9:00 pm dignitaries will be invited on the stage at the Riverfront Green to address the crowd and assist with the fireworks countdown. Those who cannot make it to the Riverfront will still be able to see the fireworks as every hill top, street and roof with a view will be crowded with residents as they turn their eyes to the skies for the annual display of colors.

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  • Pictures of the July 4, 2023 annual fireworks display.

  • Pictures of the July 4, 2023 annual fireworks display.

  • Pictures of the July 4, 2023 annual fireworks display.

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This year Garden State Fireworks, who provided the fireworks for the Peekskill New Year’s Eve celebration and the fireworks display for the 2021 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC, will set the fireworks off from a barge located in Peekskill Bay on the Hudson River. The fireworks display will last approximately 20 minutes and conclude with a grand finale. At the conclusion of the fireworks, First Class Band will again take to the stage and perform for an additional 20 minutes to help ease the mass exodus of the Riverfront and ease the traffic congestion in the area. In the event of inclement weather, the rain date for the fireworks will be on Friday, July 5. The City of Peekskill hosts the fireworks for every resident to enjoy as a gift back to the people for everyone young and old to enjoy. This year the fireworks display cost $29,000. 

The Peekskill Volunteer Firefighters Association serves and protects the lives, property and interests of the citizens and proprietors of the City of Peekskill. The Association has approximately two hundred volunteers and operates four engines, one aerial platform, one heavy rescue, and one utility vehicle. 

For more information about the Peekskill Volunteer Firefighters Association, check out the new Peekskill Volunteer Firefighters Association Website, take a peek at the old Peekskill Volunteer Fire Association Website and follow the Peekskill Volunteer Fire Association Facebook Page

Both websites are full of the Peekskill Volunteer Fire Department history, intricate details about the department, apparatus, safety and fire prevention tips for homeowners and renters, training and recruitment information and ways to join the Peekskill Volunteer Fire Department. For more information contact [email protected]

The July 4th Parade and Fireworks display also marks the start of the Peekskill Parks and Recreation Summer Series as the Peekskill Herald reported last month in Beat the heat with the Summer Waterfront & Riverfront Series. The Peekskill Parks and Recreation department will be extremely busy as they jam pack the month of July full of entertainment at the Riverfront Green Park two to three times per week for the entire month. A Children’s Series will occur every Monday in the month of July. All of the Children’s Series performances start at 7:00 pm and end around 8:00 pm. On Wednesdays from 7:00 – 9:00 pm the Riverfront will be full of music. The Monthly Family Movie Nights occur once a month on Fridays for the entire summer. The next one will be on July 12, August 9 and the last one will occur on September 6th. All of the family movie nights start at 8:30 pm and end around 10:30 pm.

Visit the Peekskill Herald Events Calendar Features and the Peekskill Herald Event Calendar to see more local events.

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About the Contributor
Dave Mueller
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]