Grand Island honors Independence Day with “Light Up The Boulevard” parade

FILE - In this Friday, July 4, 2014 file photo, fireworks light up the lower Manhattan skyline during the Macy's Annual Fourth of July fireworks show in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) –  Grand Island celebrated Independence Day with a bang.It is is home to one of the biggest annual Fourth of July parades in Western New York.

Music, candy and a lot of red white and blue decorate Grand Island Boulevard. Trenton and Landon Tyrell said, “It’s the best parade in the world!” While the vote is still out, it certainly certainly is one of the biggest in Western New York. Families we spoke with say it is always a tradition to turn out. Grand Island native, Diane Lapp, said, “Everybody on the island turns out and puts their chairs up days in advance to claim their spots. It’s a big event for us.”

Her husband, William Lapp said, “It’s just a nice day out and I love to see the kids and everyone having a good time.” “We’re like a family here, and so many of the family are in the parade. It’s just a lot of spirit,” Lapp said.

Mary Martin just turned 96, and says she never misses this event. She says she’s only missed one parade in her life. It was 64 years ago when her son Bill was born. “I’m in my nineties, but this is always so much fun every year because I see the neighbors and anybody that comes,” she said.

Audrey Saterlee said, “We’re watching the parade for the Fourth of July and then we’re having a party at our house!”  And whether you’re young, or young at heart, Grand Island neighbors we spoke with say it is understood what the day stands for.
Saterlee said, “Be proud that you’re an American because not all countries have freedom.” Trenton Tyrell said, “Honor the flag, for all of the veterans and guardians that lost their lives for our freedom.”

The annual dick bessel independence day run and kids run kick off the parade every year. The island finishes the evening off with fireworks at fantasy island. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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