UTICA — Friends old and new come out to downtown Utica each year at this time to take in the annual Utica Volunteer Fire Department and Auxiliary’s Homecoming Fall Festival.
The grand parade kicked off the four-day festival with the annual march down Central Avenue with baseball teams, local businesses, political candidates, the Utica High School marching band and a host of other entries.
Spectators lined each side of the street, waving and greeting each other, and youngsters were scurrying to collect as much candy as they could from parade participants. The heroes of the annual parade are always the color guard leading the parade followed by the members of local fire departments. Utica Police Chief Bob Curtis provided his “play-by-play” descriptions as each parade participant passed by Utica Town Hall.
As the parade ended, focus was turned to the downtown stage for the official opening ceremonies. After an invocation by Pastor Bruce Hissong, Utica Mayor Larry Friesel welcomed everyone to the homecoming celebration, giving a special thanks to the Utica Fire Department and Auxiliary for the work they do all year long. “We invite everybody to stay all weekend for good, clean family fun,” said Friesel.