Batavia VFW planning mini Fourth of July parade for kids
The cancellation of Fourth of July festivities throughout the suburbs has prompted the Batavia Overseas VFW Post 1197 to host a mini parade that organizers say will allow children to celebrate the holiday in a safe manner.
The coronavirus pandemic has been tough on kids and teens, who have missed out on months of birthday parties, school functions, family gatherings and now, annual summer events, said Jay Davis, post commander. Many nearby communities have shut down their signature Independence Day parades, fireworks displays and other festivities to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 illness among large crowds.
With a young son of his own, Davis decided to organize a small children's parade July 4 on the VFW's 6-acre property at 645 S. River St., which he says offers plenty of room to spread out and social distance.
"We have the land in Batavia. We have the volunteers. We have the community," Davis said. "We thought we could do something to give the kids a sense of normalcy."
Kids will be asked to dress in patriotic gear as they march around the perimeter of the property starting at 10:30 a.m., he said, noting families will be asked to gather a half-hour ahead of time.
Parents can walk with their little ones, pull them in wagons or watch from the lawn. Dogs on a leash also are welcome.
The parade, which is open to the public, will be led by a small Batavia fire vehicle and will remain on the VFW site, meaning there will be no crossing of streets or bike paths, Davis said.
Hot dogs, chips and refreshments will be available for purchase. Kids ages 8 and under can eat for free.
Those handling the food will wear personal protective equipment, Davis said, and picnic tables can be moved away from other groups.
"We have 6 acres so you can very easily social distance on our property," he said. "We're asking everyone to use their common sense and judgment."
For information, visit vfw1197.org.