A small town parade

Jamie, a recent guest, made a great observation about Southampton on his blog that if Greenwich, CT was considered the hedge fund capital of the US, then Southampton must be the hedge capital of the US…miles of manicured green fences around our fabled mansions, designed to keep the curious stares of the hoi polloi at bay. (An entertaining read, not the least because his blog is devoted to breakfasts! http://thebreakfastblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/butlers-manor-southampton.html )
But today, July 4th, a whole different side of Southampton is in evidence, as the village holds the only Independence Day parade in the Hamptons. It steps off just feet from A Butler’s Manor at the train station, so cars line our usually uneventful street, crowds pass by the B&B on the sidewalk, beach chairs and coolers in hand, andin the garden over breakfast, you can hear the drum and bagpipe corps warming up before the 10 AM step off. This is a true small town parade, and it seemed today as though the whole small town turned out to watch it. Always, and appropriately, it is led by color guards and veterans representing each war, and I have to admit, I was teary because for the first time, there were no local WWII vets riding in the parade…only a decorated car with a sign “In Memory Of” paraded to remind us of the contribution of the Greatest Generation.

Still, the flags wave, and the crowds cheer, and the little kids dance at all of the various musical entries, be they bagpipe corps, a Dixieland band, or a vocal group perched on a borrowed flatbed truck. Floats are homemade and often pulled by the tractors of the local farmers (and those John Deeres are polished within an inch of their lives!), fire trucks of all vintages from the nearby villages fire up their sirens, horns, and bells, and every member of each of the Little League teams march in uniform. We have Minutemen in authentic (worsted wool!) costume who shoot their rifles and even fire the cannon to the delight of the crowds (excepting the dogs), but we also have representives of our town’s diversity, including the Shinnecock Indians in full costume, and a Latino organization called F.A.C.E.S. that fielded a dance troup that really makes you want to get up and dance!
It will never rival the Macy’s Day parade, but the Southampton Independence Day parade is small town Americana at its finest.
Quote of the Day: I can be myself here in this small town…and people let me be just what I want to be. —John Cougar Mellencamp

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