Berlin, New York 12022




July 4th Parades in Berlin

The date of the first Independence Day Parade in Berlin is lost in the mist of history, but we do know that the first one there is evidence of was in 1878.

A typical day would include a parade beginning at 9:30 am followed by a dinner at one of the churches or Community Hall. In the afternoon there would be a baseball game, or field day races. The Fire Department would frequently have a dance in the evening at the Fire Hall. Some years there would be fireworks in the evening behind the school.

Under the auspices of the Odd Fellows, the parade started at the old Elm tree (currently the location of Dollar General), and led through the main streets by Sheldon’s Cornet Band or the Odd Fellows Band. Houses would display red, white and blue decorations. Later starting places include Taylor Avenue in the W. J. Cowee yard, the First Baptist Church parking lot, and currently at the Berlin Elementary School.

The only part of the day that has survived is the parade that now starts at 11 am with the American Legion or Fire Company taking turns “stepping off” the parade. They are followed by the Grand Marshall, bands, floats, old cars, fire companies of Berlin and surrounding towns, horses, walkers and other conveyances the people wish to enter.

Thanks to a Parade Committee of volunteers who plan the parade that is now unique in Rensselaer County.

A float, circa 1911, on Main Street.