Cherry Creek parade saved at last second

CHERRY CREEK – The lack of a permit for use of a state road almost stopped one of the largest Fourth of July parades in Chautauqua County in its tracks.

Cherry Creek officials recently were made aware that the village’s annual parade, which occurs along Route 83, required a permit from the state Department of Transportation.

“We didn’t know we needed one,” said Bruce Fish, village mayor. “We’ve been doing this for years and had no idea that we needed a permit to hold this parade.”

Fish has been mayor for more than a year and a resident of Cherry Creek for 10 years. He said the daughter of a village trustee pointed out two weeks ago that the DOT required a permit for use of state roads in a parade. The village typically holds its parade the Saturday before the Fourth of July.

“It’s the biggest activity of the year for the village, and probably one of the biggest parades in the county,” Fish said.

The Cherry Creek Community Association Inc., the group in charge of the annual festivities, scrambled to secure a permit last week, but was denied. Fish said the DOT wanted $3 million in insurance liability for the parade; the community association was able to obtain only $2 million in coverage.

In a last-ditch effort to salvage the parade, Fish contacted state Sen. Cathy Young, R-C-I Olean.

“As soon as we got the call we went into action,” Young told The Post-Journal. “They said if the village applied they would issue the permit. These are the types of calls we like to receive, especially when it’s to help preserve a great tradition.”

The village also has $2 million in liability coverage, Fish said.

Meanwhile, the parade Saturday was widely successful.

“Once it got going it went very well,” Fish said. “We went from wondering if we were going to have it Friday to having one of the longest, best parades I’ve seen here.”

The PERM 33c permit, according to the DOT’s website, is issued when traffic is closed or disrupted for a special event on a state road for more than 10 minutes. Special-use permits have existed in New York for decades, but the latest version specifically for parades took effect this year, a spokesman for the DOT said.