Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by John Emerson

THE GRANDEST MARSHAL: Retired Justice and Monticello resident Lawrence H. Cooke, a longtime Monticello FD member, led the way for paradegoers Saturday in Monticello inside Marc Cassaro’s beautiful convertible. Cooke’s son, George (the county clerk), joined his father for the ride.

FDs Join All in Having
Fun at Monticello

By John Emerson
MONTICELLO — June 20, 2000 -- It wasn’t 76 trombones that led the big parade in Monticello Saturday, but the executive members of the Hudson Valley Volunteer Firefighters’ Association did lead a line of march that stretched for more than a mile.
The thousands of people that lined Broadway and Jefferson Street along the parade route were treated to dozens of bands, ranging from full marching bands to bagpipers and everything in between. Interspersed between the bands were the fire companies and their equipment, all in Monticello to participate in the association’s annual meeting and parades.
While the meetings were held at Kutsher’s Country Club and Saturday was preceded by Friday’s Mardi Gras carnival, the noontime parade captured the most attention.
“Everything worked out so well for us, it’s hard to believe,” said Monticello firefighter Carl Houman, who co-chaired the event with Monticello firefighter Gary Lasher. “I had a lot of people tell me they haven’t seen that many people along Broadway in at least 20 years.”
Lasher and Houman have been working on the event for the last three years. The fire department volunteered to host the event to help celebrate the department’s 125th anniversary. The last time the Hudson Valley parade was held in Monticello was 1975, the year the department celebrated its centennial.
New York State firefighters came from as far away as Albany and Long Island to take part in the event, but they were virtual next door neighbors compared with the winners of the farthest journey award. That honor went to two groups of firefighters who traveled from Germany to take part in the parade and the festivities.
Along the parade route, vendors of all sorts peddled their wares to eager viewers. Blue skies and sunny weather added to the crowds’ overall appreciation of the event. The warm day did spawn a late afternoon shower, but the rain held off until the parade was completed.
In all, more than 8,000 people were in the line of march, which stretched from the Sullivan County Courthouse along Broadway, up Jefferson Street to Route 17B and onto the grounds of the Monticello Raceway.
Former Court of Appeals Chief Justice Lawrence Cooke, a member of the Monticello Fire Department for the last 61 years, served as the parade’s grand marshal.
“I think it was a lovely affair and believe it instilled a great deal of interest in volunteer firematics,” Cooke said. “We have to encourage volunteerism, not just in firematics but in all areas. I think this helped.”





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