All weekend long, people hosted and attended the traditional Fourth of July cookouts, spent quality time with friends and family, and occasionally let loose fireworks into the sky. Of course, the main events of the holiday weekend took place on Sunday.
The sudden appearance of lawn chairs and blankets occurred the day before on Saturday. Scattered up and down Bridge Street these empty seats marked where people had laid claim to a place to watch the parade. This is a common enough practice and it is also not unusual for people to arrive at their seats early to make sure they are still there. Some people could be found in their seat hours ahead of time; some were seated there all day as they had arrived early in the morning. By one in the afternoon, the early risers were joined by people more content to find a viewing place when they got there. Add in the people who had claimed spots the night before, lots of strollers, and an uncountable number of coolers and the main stretch of road through Oswego had become a very crowded and lively place, with sunscreen 'perfume' in the air.
Waving to the crowd of people from the parade was a mixture of law enforcement, emergency response teams, marching bands, local organizations, and politicians including the Mayor of Oswego, Billy Barlow. Near the front of the parade, there was even a small collection of men from Fort Ontario dressed in Civil War uniforms. Candy was thrown to thrilled children and some marchers carried water cannons and pistols to spray over-heated citizens on the side of the street. For anyone who decided they were hungry from the excitement, there were food vendors on both sides of the river and the Elks Club was grilling up sausages and serving refreshments for the duration of the parade.
If you wanted some after-lunch history, you could have wandered over to the fort. Fort Ontario hosted the Community Bicentennial Picnic on it grounds immediately following the parade. The fort was open to anyone who wanted to take a look inside and find pieces of local history that has been around in one form or another since the 1700’s. Fort Ontario was involved with the Revolutionary War, something that the fort caretakers and local community are very proud of, especially during Independence Day.
After the parade, picnics, and cookouts, a mass migration of people occurred. From all over the city, people made their way to Breitbeck Park or another location close to, or on, the waterfront. At 9:30 p.m., after it had grown dark, the Fourth of July fireworks show was propelled into the sky. At the Oswego Yacht Club, patron Susan McBrearty said: “We have watched the fireworks here for fifteen years. We originally watched them from the other side of the street, but one year we noticed that the trees had grown too tall and it was time to find a new spot.” She doesn’t think that there is a better place to do it. Located right on the water and very close to the launch points for fireworks in Oswego, who can argue?