Gearing Up for the Community Memorial Day Parade

By Councilman Kenny Tompkins

You wouldn’t know from the frigid temps and falling snow that in a mere three and a half months, we’ll
host our third Community Memorial Day Parade. On Saturday, May 26, at 10 am, units will march from
the City Market parking lot, up Pine Avenue, to the Veteran’s Memorial in Hyde Park. This event has
continued to flourish since 2016, when a small group of residents assembled to make sure this tradition,
which honors those who sacrificed all, could continue.

For the second year, we are partnering with the Kiwanis Club of Niagara Falls. Our mission is to make
this parade one that is recognized as a signature event here in our city. There are several key
components that ensure our success and we need your help.

Sponsors: The Community Memorial Day Parade is run strictly on donations for local businesses and
individuals. No public money is allocated to this event. The funds we raise go toward paying for bands as
well as other costs we might accrue. There are several sponsor levels. We recognize our sponsors on
Facebook, at the bandstand, and in our media. Please consider donating at one of these levels. Anything
is appreciated:
• Gold Sponsor: $500 or larger donation
• Silver Sponsor: $101 to $499 donation
• Stars and Stripes Sponsor: up to $100 donation
• Band sponsorship ($600 to $1000)

Units: We welcome any organization or business who wishes to march in the parade to join us! If you
have a school or church group, a sports team, a dance troupe, a business, or a club that would be
interested in participating, we’d love to hear from you. We will provide you with a form to complete and
an information sheet. Prizes are awarded for the best floats, so be creative and patriotic! You don’t have
to enter a float, either. Groups are welcome to simply march as well. So that we can adequately plan for
our line-up, we ask that you register to participate by April 25.

World War II Veterans: Each year, the highlight of this parade has been honoring our local World War II
veterans with proclamations from our elected officials. If you know of anyone who served in this war
who would be willing to participate, we want to hear from you. We will provide them with a car and
driver. This is the greatest generation, of which my late father-in-law was part. Honoring these
veterans has become personal for my wife, Terry, and myself. We would like to be able to have as many
as possible participate in this parade.

We also welcome ALL veterans who have served our country to participate in the parade as well. You
may march as a group and if needed, we can provide rides.

Essay Contest Participants: Once again this year, we’ll host essay contests for students at Niagara Falls
High School, Niagara Falls Middle Schools, and Niagara Catholic Junior/Senior High School. The schools
will be receiving details shortly. This year’s high school theme will be: What does freedom mean in
2018? The middle school theme will be: What does Memorial Day mean to me? Three winners from the
high school and one winner from the middle school will be selected. Winners will read their essays at
the service at the Veteran’s Memorial following the parade.

Volunteers: Would you like to volunteer for the parade? We need people to be parade marshals that
day. This includes helping units find their staging spots, directing units, working the registration table,
and being runners to assist with the many small details that go into a smoothly-run parade.

If you are interested in helping us with ANY of the above, please contact me at or call me at 716.940.7092.

Last year’s parade was bigger than 2016. We know our 2018 parade will continue to grow and bring in
new units as well as new veterans to honor. It has been a privilege to be the chair for this event. Please
consider helping us continue to expand this event and showcase the best of Niagara Falls when it comes
to honoring our fallen servicemen and women.

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