Written by Owen McGee Friday, 13 August 2010 00:00
Hicksville Fire Department Chief Edward Korona announced that the Hicksville Fire Department will no longer sponsor the annual Labor Day Parade. The 2009 81st annual parade was the last one. The parade and drill was held as a fundraiser, and in recent years, it has cost the fire department to run the event. Several years ago the drill portion was dropped because the grandstands did not comply with OSHA standards.
The parade resumed, but a combination of circumstances has made it difficult to continue the tradition. The committee was unable to secure the services of a food vendor to set up for a few hours after the parade and claimed it wasn’t worth the effort and not enough profits could be made. Efforts were put forward to get a carnival but weren’t successful; if it was less than three days, they weren’t interested. Rule changes by county parade and drill officials did not require the drill team’s departments to parade caused a drastic reduction in departments attending.
At one time the parade consisted of six divisions with almost 50 fire departments marching and now the parade committee was hard-pressed to get 20 departments to parade. With no food or entertainment after the parade and just liquid refreshments available, there was nothing to draw local residents to the block party. Closing two parking lots on West Barclay Street for as many days would have worsened the situation with the loss of commuter parking.
Hicksville has always prided itself in turning out a large crowd of local residents as onlookers, more than from other parades, but in recent years that has fallen off here as it has at many Long Island parades.
Chief Korona realized that there will be many local residents and LI firefighters who will be disappointed at the loss of the annual event. The first Labor Day Parade and Drill was started in the mid 1920s. From 1942-45 no event was held due to WWII. Both the parade and drill was held on Labor Day, but in the mid ’90s the parade was held at 5 p.m. on Sunday and the drill at 9 a.m. on Monday (Labor Day). A major reason was so many departments who participated in that drill ran as late as 11 p.m., (sometimes caused by timing equipment or water pressure problems) which meant many teams got to re-run the event. Unless there is a miracle in Hicksville, the Annual Hicksville Labor Day Parade is no more.