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Video: Oakfield Labor Day Parade 2019

By Howard B. Owens
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Photos: Oakfield Labor Day Parade 2015

By Howard B. Owens


Layla and Elizabeth, both 4 years old, dance to the music of the Old Hippies as their float passes by on Main Street in Oakfield during the community's annual Labor Day parade.


Remember Rocky? He's the dog whom authorities say was scaled by hot water. His owner surrendered ownership in court. He's living at the Animal Shelter still. He's one of several dogs Volunteers for Animals walked through the parade, all in need of adoption. Rocky is a sweet, loving canine. Hopefully, he finds a new forever home soon.


Willie Brooks, center with sash, was the Grand Marshall. Brooks is a former county legislator and longtime volunteer and leader in the Oakfield community.


The start of the parade, which tradition preserved as Sheriff Gary Maha leads the way.


Vietnam Veterans of America Color Guard.


The longest line yet of classic cars in the parade.


Legislator Ray Cianfrini tosses candy from the GOP float.


Oakfield-Alabama Hornets football team.






To purchase prints of these photos or those in the slideshow, click here.

Photos: Oakfield Labor Days Parade 2014

By Howard B. Owens

Oakfield, as part of its Labor Days celebration, closed out the parade season in Genesee County once again in style, with its biggest parade yet (lasting an hour and 20 minutes).

This year's theme was a salute to agriculture, with Dean Norton, NYS Farm Bureau president, walking this parade as Grand Marshall. He was joined on the route by his family.

To purchase prints, and ensure you'll have copies of these photos years from now, click here.

Photos: Oatka Festival and parade 2014

By Howard B. Owens

Big crowd and lots of great community spirit were on display Saturday during the annual Oatka Festival Parade, followed by fun and games at the festival in Trigon Park.

The biggest cheers of the parade went up when the Class of 1984 came through and the announcers said among the things the class supports is saving Frost Ridge, and then again when the Save Frost Ridge group itself came through the parade (above).

To purchase prints, click here.

Photos: Oakfield Labor Days Parade 2013

By Howard B. Owens

Elaine Forti was honored to be Grand Marshal of the Oakfield Labor Days Parade. She was surprised when current and former students started singing the Oakfield-Alabama spirit song, "Nothing Is Going to Stop Us Now." Forti wrote the lyrics for the song in 1988.

Each year, the Oakfield parade seems to grow a little bigger and it's always well attended.

Here are some shots -- including one you've probably never seen before: A City of Batavia Fire Department truck in a parade outside the city. 

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

NOTE: It turns out, not all of the pictures have finished uploading yet ... in progress ...

Photos: 2013 Bergen Parade

By Howard B. Owens

Bergen held its annual parade today. The parade ended at Hickory Park, where there is a community picnic. Bergen is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year.

DOT apparently means to rain on your community's parade

By Howard B. Owens

Nearly every city, village, town and even most hamlets in Upstate New York hold at least one parade a year.

It might be for Memorial Day or some local observance or festival, but parades in the state's rural counties are as common as apples and corn.

New Department of Transportation rules could doom one of the state's last vestiges of public Americana.

Legislator Shelly Stein informed the Public Service Committee today of a proposed new law that would require parade organizers to file a five-page application, pay hefty deposits and jump through dozens of bureaucratic hoops to get permission for a parade on a state highway.

For example, the Oakta Festival Parade, which Stein chairs, takes place on Route 5 every year. The City's parades for Memorial Day and St. Joe's Penny Carnival are also on Route 5. Oakfield's Labor Day Parade is on Route 63. Byron's parade is on Route 262. In Bergen, the parade crosses Route 19.

"This has always been a municipality's prerogative," noted Legislator Marianne Clattenburg, a former City of Batavia council member. "Every time a parade or festival took place, it always got approval through the city and the council voted. So why is this now being taken out of local control?"

Stein and other legislators suspect it's about money. The new law requires a deposit sufficient to cover any potential damage to state property, which the state will fix and deduct from the deposit.

It could just be bureaucracy.

The list of new requirements include:

  • Demonstrate that a licensed traffic engineer has reviewed the operation and safety plan;
  • Identify every location and every way where participants will violate normal traffic laws;
  • Show how the event will affect normal traffic and how measures taken to minimize conflicts;
  • Identify all temporary traffic control devices that will be placed in the highway;
  • Demonstrate that there is a plan for addressing injured participants;
  • Demonstrate that the owners of facilities used by the event have been contacted and agree with the use;
  • Prepare an event map that shows start and finish lines, show direction of event, show all intersections, show railroad crossings, show jurisdictional boundaries and show facilities being used (roads, parks, schools, parking lots, etc.);
  • Write a detailed description of the event;
  • List all existing traffic control signs;
  • Prepare sketches of all locations that require additional traffic control devices;
  • Show on a map all locations of traffic control personnel;
  • Provide a map of detours with a drawing of proposed detour signs;
  • Detail pre-event public notifications;
  • Describe pre-event coordination with local police or state police and other agencies;
  • and, describe event-day communications systems.

The changes also apply to 5K races, bike races and other public events that use state highways.

The proposed changes are not law yet. Currently, the DOT is accepting public comment on the proposed new rules. The DOT can be contacted at NYSDOT Main Office, 50 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12232.

Stein shared a comment about the proposed changes by Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer. She said, Ranzenhofer told her, "I really don't see this going too far because we all walk in parades."

But, Stein said, without public feedback, the new law could go into effect, making it much harder for local communities to host their traditional parades and other public events.

Photos: Oatka Festival Parade in Le Roy

By Howard B. Owens

Saturday was a perfect day for a parade in one of the region's best venues for marching bands and floats, the Village of Le Roy.

Here are photos from yesterday's 2012 Oatka Festival Parade.

The festival continues today until 6 p.m.  The annual duck derby race is at 5 p.m.

If you're unable to view the slide show, click here.

Prints of these photos are available for purchase by clicking here.

My Son at Work!

By Bea McManis

Make sure you stop and say "hi" to Jim if you see him at any local carnivals; parades and other events as he explains the virtues of the Fuel Car.  Let him know you read about it at

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