Spectators line the parade route on Pennsylvania Ave E in 2023. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

Touring Warren County: 4th of July Celebration

July 5, 2023

WARREN, Pa. – While some rain may have dampened the ground, it certainly did not dampen the spirits as thousands came out to take part in the annual Warren County Fourth of July Celebration.

The 4-day event opened on July 1 with a Fireman’s Battle and closed late in the evening of July 4 with the annual fireworks display. In between featured a number of events and activities including Warren’s Got Talent Drop the Mic 2.0, live musical performances, a cutest baby contest, and of course, the 75th annual Warren 4th of July Parade.

“It’s kind of a special day,” Warren Fourth of July Committee Chairman Bill Thompson said during the parade. “The 75th annual Fourth of July Parade. It’s the diamond anniversary. I mean, how many towns can you say that have been doing a parade for that many years and going strong? You know, that’s the biggest thing.”

See Thompson’s full interview:

There was one difference in the parade this year, as the route flipped from west to east due to the roundabout construction at Pennsylvania Avenue and Market Street.

“This is awesome,” Thompson said. “I mean, we switched it to the east side of Warren. And I probably have just as many if not more people on this side. So it’s nice to know how the community, you know, steps up and supports this Fourth of July Parade.”

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The parade was bittersweet for some of the Warren Jaycee Alumni, who were the Grand Marshals, and committee members as it was the first parade since the June passing of longtime organizer Wally Post.

“From what I know of Wally, he was always a quiet man,” Warren Mayor Dave Wortman said. “And he never wanted to take any of the credit. Unfortunately, in passing away about a month ago, he finally gets a little bit of the credit that he deserves, because honestly, I don’t think that we would be standing here today if it wasn’t for the efforts of Wally Post to continue on the tradition of the Warren Fourth of July Parade. So, you know, he and Polly have just given their heart and soul to this endeavor and I think we as a city are eternally grateful.”

See Wortman’s full interview:

Wortman also harkened back to the county’s namesake in expressing his appreciation for the annual celebration.

“I think our heritage and our history, all the way back to our namesake, General Joseph Warren, knowing that he was one of the founding fathers of this great nation, died at the battle Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War for our community, we continue to show his patriotism and love of country, in celebration of everything that this country stands for,” Wortman said. “I think it’s a really beautiful thing. And to have organizations such as the Jaycee alumni and the Warren County Fourth of July Committee, that continue to carry on that tradition, you can see just the amazing amount of people that turnout to celebrate our nation’s history. I think it’s just fantastic.”

Though rain had initially been in the forecast on Tuesday, the skies cleared to allow the parade to commence. The only drops of water came from some of the entrants with water guns.

“We are always appreciative that the weather holds off long enough for us to traverse the parade, let all the citizens have a great time, get the kids out, and truly remember the meaning of the Fourth of July,” Warren City Councilman Jared Villella said during the parade.

See Villella’s full interview:

There were sunny skies when the festivities began on Saturday with the Fireman’s Battle as well.

The Penfield Volunteer Fire Department took home the first-place trophy at the event, topping Starbrick VFD in the final battle.

“We heard there was a battle up here,” Penfield’s Dave Wrey said. “We like to battle, so we’ll go about anywhere. We have a good team, and we practice a lot.”

See Wrey’s full interview:

Saturday also saw the preliminary round of Warren’s Got Talent Drop the Mic 2.0, with the finals held on a rainy Sunday afternoon. When the dust settled, Southwestern (N.Y.) High School senior Marley Ohl was crowned as the first-place winner.

Ohl beat out a talented group of performers for the title, with Trenton Shutters finishing second and Jerod Eggleston third, with Jedidiah Schmader and Derek Hayes also qualifying as finalists.

“I was extremely surprised,” Ohl said. “I thought it was going to be my friend Trenton.

See Ohl’s full interview:

Despite the late-afternoon downpour on Monday, people were still flocking to Betts Park to enjoy the Food Truck Festival and Craft Fair.

The rain also couldn’t deter the dozen babies who participated in the Cutest Baby Contest. Photos courtesy the Warren County Visitors Bureau.

The annual Fourth of July Celebration concluded with a fireworks display from Betts Park.

After 75 years, the annual Warren County Fourth of July Celebration continues to grow and should be even bigger for year 76.

The Touring Warren County series on Your Daily Local is sponsored by the Warren County Visitors Bureau. Visit them at their office on Route 6 or online at wcvb.net.

See all the installments of our Touring Warren County series here.

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