HONOR AMERICA DAYS — Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo today announces details of the 200th anniversary event for the Erie Canal on Saturday, July 22 at Bellamy Harbor Park as well as plans for the annual Honor America Days parade and concert July 29 (Sentinel photo by Roger Seibert)

Honor America Days floats canal theme

Published Jun 14, 2017 at 4:10pm

Honor America Days this summer will be a part of a larger group of weekend events in Rome and the surrounding area, including the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal. The canal celebration will take place July 22 and the Honor America Days’ feature parade and concert will be on July 29.

This year Honor America Days will partner with the state Canal Corp. and the New York State Power Authority to present the kickoff celebration commemorating the bicentennial of the Erie Canal. The groundbreaking to begin construction of the canal took place in Rome in 1817.

“The Honor America Days Committee is very pleased to partner with the Canal Corp. and the Power Authority to recognize the Erie Canal’s 200th anniversary. For this one year, Honor America Days will officially begin its celebration on Saturday, July 22, with a daylong schedule of events at Bellamy Harbor Park along the Barge Canal,” said Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo, chairperson of the Honor America Days Committee for the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce.

The bicentennial celebration will begin with events on Saturday morning and continue until dark. There will be a yoga demonstration along the waterfront to begin the day along with kayaking, an arts festival, food trucks, wine and beer, performance art and visual arts. The terminal building will be a showplace for many state agencies and historic organizations.

There will be a reenactment of the ceremonial groundbreaking around noontime. Three bands will perform, beginning with Classified, followed by Salt City Jazz Band and wrapping up the day’s events leading to a fireworks display will be Alex Torres, a high energy Latin band.

“We are also welcoming Mark Tyoe, the 2013 Northeast Champion and seven-time Northeast Chainsaw Carving champion, who will create a wood carving during the bicentennial celebration which will be permanently displayed at Bellamy Harbor Park in commemoration of the 200th anniversary. The day will culminate with the lighting of the General Cable water tower and a fireworks show over the Canal. The water tower will be lit year round as a permanent beacon to remember the canal celebration and for those entering the City of Rome,” said Izzo.

The Honor America Days Committee through the chamber with Mohawk Valley EDGE received two grants to fund the bicentennial activities. The first was awarded for programming through state Council on the Arts for $28,500 and a second capital grant from Canal Corp. for $97,000 to fund the tower lighting project.

As for the parade on July 29, the Cicero-North Syracuse Northstars Marching Band will be a new addition. The Northstars Marching Band has been selected to participate in the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and recently performed at the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., earning $10,000 and an exclusive performance during pre-game, Izzo noted.

The parade will step off promptly at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 29, on North James Street near Rome Memorial Hospital. Featured in this year’s parade will be musical groups led by the Northstars, CNY Fire & Police Band, Upstate Independent Drum & Bugle Corps and Downbeat Percussion the official drumline of the Buffalo Bills, making their fourth appearance in the parade, with Island Band, LaBanda Rosa, the RFA Marching Band and more.

“The parade will feature all different genres of music and entertainment as well as local organizations displaying floats and marching units. We are hoping for some creative uses of the Erie Canal theme” said Izzo. The theme of Honor America Days this year is “Celebrating 200 Years of the Erie Canal.”

Also being honored during this year’s Honor America Days Celebration will be the Air Force Research Laboratory at Griffiss Business and Technology Park.

“The Air Force Research Laboratory, our hometown Rome Lab, is celebrating their 100 year anniversary with events throughout 2017 at different laboratories. Rome Lab’s official celebratory month is July, and we are thrilled to honor them for their 100 years of service to our nation’s defense,” said Izzo.

The west lawn at Fort Stanwix National Monument will once again host the annual pops concert presented by Symphoria at 8 p.m. on July 29. The musical program will culminate with the traditional “1812 Overture,” John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes” with a fireworks show sponsored by Berkshire Bank.

More activities will take place throughout the week. Also, the Rome Rotary’s annual Canalfest will run Thursday, Aug. 3 through Saturday, Aug. 5. The Drums Along the Mohawk Drum and Bugle Corps Show will return on Sunday, Aug. 6 culminating almost three weeks of Honor America Days events at Rome Free Academy Stadium. Izzo noted the Boilermaker Road Race in Utica and the World Series of Bocce in Rome, which take place on July 9 and July 13-16, respectively.

“It’s shaping up to be a really patriotic year for us,” Izzo said.

“As always Honor America Days would not be possible without the generous sponsorship of local businesses and individuals. The Committee sincerely thanks them all, and we are looking forward to our 34th celebration. The Committee has been extremely busy working hard with many other state and community organizations to help present the Bicentennial events. It takes the dedication of many to put all of this together and we would like to recognize the efforts of state Canal Corp., state Power Authority, Rome Main Streets, Rome Historical Society, Frank Barrows and his staff at Fort Stanwix National Monument along with Mohawk Valley EDGE who all have been integral components of this year’s bicentennial planning,” said Izzo.

The Honor America Days Committee includes Mayor Izzo; Larry Daniello, mayoral chief of staff; William Guglielmo, chamber president; Frank Barrows, superintendent of Fort Stanwix; and Carl Eilenberg, former mayor.