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The citizens of Beacon love a parade.

This is an album of photos from some of the parades of 2008—Spirit of Beacon Day Parade, Hat Parade and Halloween Parade—photographed by Peter McGivney. Peter's family moved from New York City 40 years ago and he has brought along his camera to many many Beacon events since.

At left:
Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Our signature parade is the Spirit of Beacon Day Parade.

What follows is a brief history of Spirit of Beacon Day adapted from a presentation by Roy Ciancanelli to the city council.

At left:
Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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How it began: In the mid 1970's a racially charged tension built between the students from the Beacon schools and the broader community. By the early spring of 1977 that  tension erupted for several days and nights. The Sheriff's department was called in to help bring the situation under control.

At left:
Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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A community meeting was held at the Howland Library attended by Edward Schuler, local legislators, Dutchess County Youth Bureau, Mayor Robert Cahill, and the Beacon City Council. The meeting explored the cause of the problems and ways to prevent them. Before the meeting closed, it was decided to meet again in smaller groups and to open the meetings to everyone. Victor Russo, a representative from the F.B.L's Community Relations, also attended and then spent a great deal of time talking to people and youth on the streets trying to resolve the city's the problems.

At left:
Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Representatives from all parts of the community joined the subsequent meetings: the Mayor, City Council, Beacon School System, The Beacon Community Center (NSO), Howland Library, Chamber of Commerce, Dutchess County Youth Bureau, Concerned Citizen's Group, and clergy.

At left:
Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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One of the most positive and enduring changes to emerge from these meetings was the creation of a "Community Day." The goal was to bring the city together—especially the children. People would get to know one another better and celebrate with conversation, entertainment, education and food.

At left:
Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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The meetings concluded at the end of May 1977. Would there be enough time to get ready for a "Community Day" that year? What would it be called? The group thought it could be held the last Sunday in September on Main Street. Several names were considered and it was finally decided to call it Spirit of Beacon Day.

At left:
Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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They made it happen. Booths featuring food, crafts and exhibits from local organizations and agencies lined Main Street. A stage for entertainment was set up on South Brett and South Chestnut Streets. A parade led by the Mayor and City Council marched down Main Street. The committee had emphasized that all children and youth groups were welcomed to parade. They also stressed that it was not to be a day for politicking.

At left:
Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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It was resolved to make the parde an annual tradition. The next years saw more booths, more entertainment and more people marching in the parade. In 1981, the highlight of the day was the presentation of a plaque to Pete Seeger from the Commission of Human Relations. The plaque was in recognition of all the work Pete had done for the city of Beacon.

At left:
Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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In recent years an annual theme has been chosen and people find creative ways to address the theme in their  floats, costumes, and entertainment. For 2007: Building Beacon Spirit. For 2008: Children Are The Future. For 2009: The Quadricentennial

At left:
Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Spirit of Beacon Day Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Halloween Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Halloween Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Halloween Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney

 


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney 


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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Hat Parade 2008
Photo by Peter McGivney


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