It lasted less than a minute, yet Riverside residents went outside, set up chairs on their front lawns and parkways, waved and shouted good wishes to the handful of police officers and firefighters who drove slowly past and waved back.
They, along with a zydeco band perched atop a trailer being pulled by a Riverside Parks and Rec truck, comprised the village’s July 4 parade, which this year went to residents instead of the usual routine, a concession to life during a pandemic.
“It was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done in my 17 years here,” said Ron Malchiodi, the village’s recreation director and one of the people responsible for organizing the “parade,” which drove past most every residence in the village during a nearly four-hour journey that started at 9 a.m. on the Fourth.
“It seemed like everybody in Riverside was out and they seemed thankful that we were doing it and for the first responders, who the parade was dedicated to,” Malchiodi said.
While planners had tried to schedule rough time frames for where they’d be during the morning, it turned out that they had to move a little slower, since they were towing the band.
“We had no way to time [in advance] towing the trailer with the band on it at the speed they were comfortable with,” Malchiodi said.
Fire Chief Matthew Buckley, who was riding along in the passenger seat of the ambulance that led the parade, said he thought residents appreciated the parade.
“I thought it was very well received from residents out there,” he said. “There were a lot of people lining the route, and it was great to see that.”
While the organizers of the official parade didn’t know it, there was a second parade motoring around the village at the same time. About a half dozen or so classic car collectors who have participated in the annual July 4 parade for almost 50 years, formed their own six-car parade, giving those lining the streets a little bonus.
“We’ve been doing this since the village celebrated its [centennial] in 1975,” said Rey Navarro, who drove his red MG TC. “People seemed to like it.”
Along with Riverside TV’s “best of” outdoor concert show from July 3 Concerts in the Park past, village residents got to experience at least a taste of community celebration.
“We know how big these events are to people,” Malchiodi said. “We just wanted to observe them in any way we could.”