MORRISTOWN – Crowds from all over St. Lawrence County packed Main Street for Morristowns annual Fourth of July celebration on Wednesday. Some had to sit on roof tops and children were perched on their parents shoulders in order to get a good view of the parade and to cheer on their school in the first marching band competition of the year.
Organized by the Morristown Volunteer Fire Department, the Morristown Fourth of July Parade is one of the largest annual gatherings in the north country, and marks the first round of competitions for area school marching bands.
Six schools - Ogdensburg Free Academy, Morristown, Heuvelton, Lisbon, Edwards-Knox and Gouverneur Central - competed in the marching band competition.
The competition was judged by seven members of the New York Parade Judges Association. OFA won with a score of 79.125, beating second-place Gouverneur Central which had a score of 78.95.
It was absolutely fabulous, said Erica L. Chase, who played a trumpet solo for the Ogdensburg Blue Devils. It was a lot of hard work, but everyone played really well.
OFA performed musical selections from The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz and Wicked. Members of the color guard dressed as the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and Wicked Witch of the East. It was led by Band Director Richard Patton. The band took only one month to prepare, but played Wicked good, Ms. Chase quipped.
The Gouverneur Central marching band was led by Kathy Moses. Gouverneur Central placed second with a total score of 78.95 with their rendition of the Back to the Future movie theme.
The Lisbon was directed Glenn Roberts. The band performed the Bon Jovi hit Livin on a Prayer and Foreigner hit Urgent. The school placed third overall with a score of 78.425 points.
The host band, the Morristown Rockets, placed fourth with a score of 75. The Rockets played classic rock tunes, Stairway to Heaven, Immigrant Song, and Whole Lotta Love, by Led Zepplin. The 53- member band dedicated their performance to MCS Band Director Jill Roberts, who will not return to direct the band next year.
Megan Wattie directed Heuvelton. The school got many parade-goers to hum along with their renditions of ABBA favorites Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen. The school placed fifth overall with 67 points.
Heather Harrison directed Edwards-Knox Centrals marching band. Edwards-Knox placed sixth with a score of 67. The band performed hits by the Black-Eyed Peas.
Despite the extreme heat and poly-blend uniform, Marissa J. Smith of E-K said she was excited to begin competing as a color guard member.
Its my first year, and I love every minute of it, said Ms. Smith.
Edwards-Knox will move on to perform in Star Lake on July 14.
Leading the parade was Sheriff Kevin Wells of the New York State Police.
Fire departments from Morristown, Hammond, Prescott, Heuvelton, Brier Hill and Ogdensburg Rescue Squad were represented.
Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, and State Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Heuvelton were also present to give out candy to children.
A chicken barbecue provided by the Morristown Fire Department, a tractor pull by River Valley Antique Tractor Pull, kids games and concessions made sure celebrations continued until the late evening.
Khloe Moore Of Morristown won the 50/50 raffle. This years winning share was $615.