Children’s Campground Fourth of July parade celebrates 20th year


Gretchen Rehak and Pam Rogers found a way to celebrate the Fourth of July with their toddlers — pot lids.  The two mothers lined the tykes up outside their neighboring Campground houses. And with kitchenware in hand, they smashed and clanged the tin tops down the street, pulling a wagon and marching to the sound of their impromptu summer parade.

Twenty years later, Julie Quattrucci and Laurie Koster, this year’s organizers of the parade, position a bench and chairs next to potted plants stuck with spinning pinwheels. Sarah Rogers watches from her porch as dozens of kids wheel their streamer-wrapped scooters to the start of The Children’s Parade, where she had played her mother’s cookware in the sun two decades before.

“We’ve been crowned the ‘grand marshals’ of The Children’s Parade; they won’t let us retire,” Jodie Falkenburg said. Mrs. Falkenburg, Mrs. Roger’s mother, indicates an American flag-layered cape resting on the chair behind her.

“One of my friends in the campground made us each capes,” she said as she flips through a photo album full of pictures from the parade previous years. Several photos of her and her husband, Bob Falkenburg, riding on a golf cart with their capes trailing behind them line the album.

“It’s just amazing how it’s grown through the years — the adults were just beating on pan lids singing God Bless America from here right down to the bend in the road,” Mrs. Falkenburg said. “I think we get children from off the campground, which is wonderful.”

Another door down, Bill Sittard stands on his porch surrounded by his sousaphone, drums, a harmonica, a clarinet, a song flute, a recorder, a French horn and a double bell euphonium.

“Every year the instrumentation is different because we don’t know who’s going to show up,” Betsy Bogle said. “This is just a simple song flute,” she said, wiggling the instrument between her fingertips.    

Mrs. Bogle, who runs the show, says they meet up about 20 minutes before the parade each year, run through the songs, and lead the brigade of families around the block.   

“Remember, you’re usually always a half-step away from being right,” Mr. Sittard said.

“There’s so many bad music jokes,” Stefan Young said. Usually, Mr. Young plays concert piano, but they can’t wheel one down the street, so he plays recorder for the day.

Bob Bogle waves an American flag, leading the band along the parade path. Behind him, the music plays, and Mr. and Mrs. Falkenburg, with capes flowing, cruise along in their golf cart as families shuffle behind.

“I get choked up about patriotism,” Gretchen Rehak said. “Especially because the world is such a scary place right now.”