Officials estimate roughly 10,000 people lined the streets of Ostrander Thursday to celebrate Independence Day by taking in the village’s annual Fourth of July parade.
“The success of it is due to it not being organized,” said Larry Crile, the former mayor of Ostrander. “There is no registration to enter the parade. People just show up to be in it.”
Crile said that anyone who wants to be in the parade “converges on the old mill” south of town, where the participants are assigned a number and then moved into the lineup where they are needed most. He said most of the time everyone shows up at the last minute, which causes some chaos.
“Everyone converges on the old mill,” he said. “The parade is created as it comes along.”
Before the parade begins, John Rieske — wearing a Revolutionary War Continental Army uniform — and his family signal the start of the parade by firing an old cannon. The 30-year tradition begins with a 10-minute warning shot followed by another shot 10 minutes later that sends the parade off through the streets of Ostrander.
As the parade approached the grandstand Thursday morning, the announcer said, “This is as Americana as it gets folks.”
Making the trip to Ostrander from Marion, Ryan Abbott said he and his family were there in support of family members who participated in the parade.
“It’s a nice little turnout,” he said. “And it’s not as hot as Marion’s parade.”
Abbott said Marion’s parade is held in the afternoon, which is usually hot.
Not everyone was from out of town. Larry Noble, a longtime resident of Ostrander, said since he lives along the parade route, it travels pass his front door.
“I walk out the door and here I am,” he said. “I love to watch the kids.”
Ostrander’s yearly Fourth of July celebration also includes a fireworks display at dusk. According to officials, this year’s fireworks display cost $18,000. The funding for the fireworks display comes from local businesses and donations, not tax dollars, officials added.
Every year, the village holds a barbecue chicken dinner after the parade, which kicks off the fundraising for the year.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.