The Setauket Patriots, a local conservative, pro-Trump group, will be holding a Patriot Day Parade this July 4, Saturday.
Despite many 4th of July festivities on Long Island being canceled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic — including Port Jefferson’s annual firework show — the group was granted approval for a permit they submitted a few days ago.
Thousands of people have responded to the event page, and over 200 people so far are expected to attend.
A representative of the Setauket Patriots, who requested to remain anonymous, said it was a quick approval process for the permit.
“We’re happy and excited that the permit was granted,” the representative said. “The village expedited the permit for us considering the late application and small window [they] had to work with, but they got it done for us.”
Fred Leute, the village’s chief of code enforcement, was in direct communication with the organizers and said the application was requested on June 29.
Leute said the organizer was made aware of the application fees.
“The organizer filled out the application in his vehicle and returned it, incomplete, immediately afterward,” he said. “As the application returned was incomplete, we invited the organizer back for a meeting on Tuesday to discuss his application.”
On June 30, the application was filed correctly and fees were paid, Leute said.
Once accepted for review, over the next few days, Leute and village officials conducted meetings to ensure the event could go forward.
This included discussions with the Suffolk County Police Department to provide additional law enforcement presence, the village’s Department of Public Works, and the local fire and EMS agencies.
The application was then presented to the board and it was approved as the applicant had made and met all necessary requirements, Leute said.
Kathianne Snaden, a Port Jefferson Village trustee, confirmed Thursday that the permit was approved for the event after village officials received an updated Certificate of Insurance from the Setauket Patriots.
Snaden said the streets will be closed for the parade, which will run from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on July 4.
Staging will take place at the LIRR station starting at 10 a.m. and then travel down Main Street, make a left onto West Broadway and finish at the intersection of Barnum and West Broadway. Road closures are expected for about two hours.
“As public safety is always a big concern, the organizers are also working with Suffolk County Police Department and our code enforcement office to make sure the event is a safe one,” Snaden said.
According to an announcement on the Facebook event page, the parade will be vehicle-only and no marching will be allowed “due to safety and COVID concerns.”
Many planning to attend the event expressed disappointment in not being able to march — stating that those who participated in the Black Lives Matter rally back in June were allowed.
Leute said The Setauket Patriots intended to have a full parade with marching, vehicles, and more, but this was denied due to the lateness of the application.
The chief issue was that marching parade takes more time, planning and logistical support for safety reasons.
“They applied so late, was inviting anyone who wanted to attend, and offered no way to coordinate pedestrian safety,” he said. “We negotiated to a conclusion that an all-vehicle parade could work and be approved.”
The group’s representative said the parade comes in response to the cancellation of the Port Jefferson Fire Department’s annual parade.
“We mean no disrespect to the fire department,” h said. “We were just disappointed when they canceled their annual parade and just wanted some normalcy considering the events from the last four months.
“We all need this holiday and event.”
Leute said The Port Jefferson Fire Department canceled the annual parade due to “COVID concerns for all involved and with an abundance of caution.”
He said while July 4th parades are enjoyed by many, he will “feel better” about this event once it is completed and those attending have gone home safely.
“It’s a day of remembrance and celebration,” he said. “It’s like that, but for us, it’s a challenge to keep our residents and our visitors safe as this event takes place.”