Coronavirus cancels Northside Fourth of July Parade
CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Another summertime tradition has fallen victim to coronavirus - and this one dates back to 1854.
The Northside 4th of July Parade is canceled, organizers announced early Friday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible to guarantee the safety and health of our community and of the thousands who visit Northside for the parade,” they said in a statement.
“For the past 50 years, the parade has continued regardless of weather conditions. Unfortunately, 2020 has brought with it a condition that we cannot safely plan around.”
“We’re looking for alternatives to the parade so we can celebrate together, but the health and well-being of our attendees, volunteers, and the community at large are bigger than any parade,” said Neil Spataro, parade chair.
Sponsored by the Northside Community Council, the mile-long parade route is one of the longest in Hamilton County, according to the event’s website.
The parade typically starts at the northern boundary of Northside and travels south on Hamilton Avenue to Hoffner Park, where the celebration continues with the Northside Rock 'n Roll Carnival.
For decades, the Northside 4th of July Parade has been more than a single day of over-the-top floats, costumes, and neighborhood merriment, according to organizers.
It has been a celebration of the quirky nature of an entire community.
“We’ll be back in 2021 with a bigger, crazier, more outlandish, and more exciting parade,” Spataro pledged, “but right now, we’re acknowledging that we can’t throw the city’s biggest 4th of July party and do right by our community.”
In his recent book, “Cincinnati’s Northside Neighborhood,” Dann Woellert outlines the origins of the parade, its website states.
In 1852, Archbishop John Baptist Purcell purchased an 11-acre tract of land that now includes the firehouse on Blue Rock, the New Chase School, and the McKie Center in what was then Cumminsville.
This property was purchased by the church from Jacob Hoffner with the intention of relocating the Sisters of Charity’s orphanage from the downtown site near St. Peter in Chains.
The new facility, St. Joseph Orphanage, was completed in 1854 to house 100 boys and, in 1855, began to also house girls.
The actual move was made on July 4, 1854, according to the book. Women and children rode the canal boats on what is now Central Parkway and the men marched alongside under the direction of Captain Robert Moore.
The procession was made up of members of the Turners, the Oddfellows organization, the Butchers Association, the Bricklayers Society, and the Catholic Orphans Society.
The parade became an annual event which, combined with a festival, served as the major fundraiser to ensure the continued operation of the orphanage.
That tradition continued until 1960, when St. Joseph’s Orphanage again relocated to their new location, St. Joseph Villa in Green Township, according to the parade’s website.
After a six-year hiatus, the parade was re-emerged in 1970 by a community group which called itself GAIN, for “Getting Active in Northside”.
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