The Crozet Volunteer Fire Department cancelled its Summerfest day, the occasion for the annual Crozet Fourth of July parade, opting instead to organize one for its 100th anniversary celebration set for Sept 18. It might have been better to set the anniversary celebration for Independence Day.
There has been a parade on the Fourth for as long as anyone can remember, and it has its distinct Crozet flavor. It is the one day of year everyone gathers on our main street and is smiling as they look around. People have traditional spots where they watch, and many cookouts among neighbors follow the event. Kids count on a good candy haul from the day.
The volunteer firemen once relied heavily on the annual carnival in Claudius Crozet Park—that’s where the parade marchers headed—for operating funds that Albemarle County now provides.
Uncompetitive against electronic culture, country carnivals faded through the 1980s and expired in the ’90s. Four years ago the firemen dropped the fireworks show because it cost all their potential profit, and for two years following the Downtown Crozet Association fundraised among local businesses to pay for the show. That languished when the recession hit. Meanwhile the demands on the CVFD have grown. They now answer more than 800 calls a year—that’s better than two a day—and they are volunteers after all.
The parade-and-fireworks needs broader sponsorship. The CVFD, the Downtown Crozet Association, Claudius Crozet Park, the Crozet Community Association, community service clubs like the Lions Club and Ruritans, neighborhood associations, and other interested people should form a parade organizing committee and ensure that this year’s sad loss becomes next year’s real fine parade. Let’s get Old Glory on the telephone poles along the way and do it up right.