BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – Independence Day traditions in Western New York are back with a bang. People all throughout the area tell News 4 they are excited they can celebrate the holiday with friends and family like they’re used to.
“It’s great for the families and the kids. They’re all out and about. They can go see the fireworks and I think the world is back together,” said Buffalo resident Vishal Prabhu, who was enjoying the day at Canalside with friends.
Families stopped by the Military and Naval park to visit the museum and grab a hotdog and some ice cream.
“It’s exciting to see people sitting out at restaurants and not to have to worry about many things at this point,” Buffalo resident Kate Scaduto said.
“I really think it’s great. Hopefully we’re over the hump and we won’t ever have to go back, said Don Pronty who traveled from Rochester with his wife to check out Canalside.
Last year at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, parades and firework displays were canceled to keep people safe. However, this summer places all across Western New York were able to host those events, like the Independence Day parade in the Village of Lancaster.
People lined the streets to see first responders, service members and the different cars pass by. News 4’s Gabrielle Mediak emc’d the parade.
“It’s so important. It was my mother’s favorite holiday, we lost her several years ago. My parents always made it a big deal. It’s definitely my favorite holiday and like I said I’m just so happy to be back in the village celebrating it like we normally do,” said Lancaster resident Jolene Whitehead.
In North Tonawanda, they held a parade just for kids. The kids were encouraged to decorate their bikes, wagons and strollers. Organizers say this represents everything the community is all about.
“This is as Americana as it gets. You walk through a historic neighborhood to an old restored museum that is fully functional with all the antique rides that everyone remembers from when they were kids so this is just a great day for the kids in this community,” said Niagara County Legislator Rich Andres.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.