Southampton Independence Day Parade Honors Its Past

As it has for decades, the Southampton Village Annual Independence Day parade will take to the streets to honor America on the Fourth of July, its small-town feel and air of celebration offering a touchstone to our East End heritage. This year, the parade touches another part of Hamptons history as well.

Beginning at Railroad Plaza at 10 a.m. and then traveling down Main Street and Jobs Lane before ending at Agawam Park, the parade—sponsored by the Southampton Commission on Veterans Patriotic Events—will honor William Frankenbach, the former parade chairman who passed away this past winter at the age of 82.

The Independence Day Parade in Southampton Village has been held since about 1920, Mr. Frankenbach’s wife tells, and the Frankenbach family has been involved for generations. Mr. Frankenbach organized it for 48 years before his passing, and before that his father (of the same name) ran the parade for some 35 years.

Frankenbachs have shown such dedication to the Fourth of July parade, they actually joined a few other families in taking out mortgages on their homes in the 1960s when it looked as if the parade might no longer be able to continue. On this July 4—with the roughly $35,000 parade cost arrived at through fundraisers and donations—the Frankenbach family will serve as Grand Marshals.

Former Grand Marshals include Tuskegee Airmen and veterans of the United States Navy. Says current parade chairman Robert Grisnik, the Commission on Veterans Patriotic Events “decided we would like to honor the Frankenbach family for all they have given the community.”

What will you be doing to celebrate July 4 in the Hamptons? Share your plans in the comments below.

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