North Country News
6:30 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Plattsburgh Changes Holiday Plans

Plattsburgh City Hall
Plattsburgh City Hall
Credit WAMC/Pat Bradley

The city of Plattsburgh has announced its plans for 4th of July festivities.  A cornerstone of the events is changing, and the city is recruiting a new organization to help promote events.

The city of Plattsburgh is working with a group promoting center city activities to develop and promote its July Fourth Festival.  Officials are teaming up with “First Weekends”, a year-old group that works to bring entertainment and cultural events to the center city.  First Weekends President Tim McCormick says the theme of the Fourth of July events links upcoming festivals.  “The theme for this year’s parade is ‘Heroes of Clinton County: A Salute to Our Armed Forces.’  We’re really excited to use that theme this year. Especially being such a big year with the Battle of Plattsburgh. We’re hoping that it can really jump-start the festivities that we’ll be having in September and the Battle of Plattsburgh will be holding in September as well as really show that year-round we need to remember all those who have served. It does show the teamwork we have with the city and we’re excited to take it to the next level and to have that trust put within this young organization, as we are only a year old.”

Plattsburgh's mayor is excited to have an organization step up to handle parade coordination. McCormick adds they are planning all the First Weekend entertainment events that would normally occur, with the added attraction of the parade and holiday festivities.  “Falling on a First Weekend this year we felt it was a perfect opportunity to really grow and expand what we do as an entity. To really help the culture of this community grow. So it’s not just the art walk, not just free music. But it also includes other activities going on throughout the area.”

The city has long hosted a parade, but there’s a significant change this year.  Because a major thoroughfare, South Catherine Street, is being repaved, organizers have completely revamped the two-mile parade route.  Mayor James Calnon wants to be sure people know about the change.  “The traditional parade route won't work because South Catherine Street is southbound only and if we blocked off Bridge and Broad streets, which that does, then noone could get into the city. So we’re actually going to start down by the train station. We want as many people to know about this as we can because a lot of people get there early to line up on Margaret Street. If they do they’re not going to see anything because it’s not going to go on Margaret! It will be Bridge to City Hall Place to Cumberland Avenue.”
 
While the parade takes a different route, the city's annual fireworks display has no changes.  That event has been a source of fiscal angst in past years. But this year, Mayor Calnon says the display will be bigger.  “We were able to negotiate a very good deal for fireworks. We do know it’s going to be bigger and brighter than the last few years.”

Mayor Calnon says any mass gathering has public safety issues. He reports that city police and volunteers dealing with security are prepared.  “Since the events in Boston at the marathon, we’ve paid particular attention to packages and backpacks and those kinds of things. And we’re very diligent about watching. We also recognize we are here in Plattsburgh and generally are feeling pretty comfortable with the folks  who live here and attend these things. So we do watch it. And our police do have their own training,  plus they do train the volunteers and the security folks to be sure that they’re well prepared for what to look for.”
 
Most of the expenses are donated and the mayor expects total city costs to be only a few thousand dollars.

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