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Oak Hill parade aims to bridge community gaps with second year

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    Richard Moody/ Columbia-Greene Media The second Oak Hill Day parade was held Saturday.
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    Richard Moody/ Columbia-Greene Media The parade is seen as a way to bring together the entire community, according to organizers.
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    Richard Moody/ Columbia-Greene Media All kinds of vehicles, floats and marchers participated in the event.
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    Richard Moody/ Columbia-Greene Media Community unity was the name of the game for the second Oak Hill Day parade Saturday.
July 30, 2017 12:15 am Updated: July 30, 2017 12:15 am

OAK HILL — In an event meant to bring everyone together, the hamlet of Oak Hill held its second annual parade and festival Saturday.

Saturday was only the second Oak Day parade, but spectators and organizers said the parade was larger and better than it was the year before.

“The parade was fantastic,” said Frank Buddingh, of New Rochelle. “It is growing; it was twice as big this time.”

Buddingh said he loves to visit Oak Hill.

“I think it is because of the informality of the people, that everyone mingles,” he said. “I love you walk down the street and see people selling stuff.”

George Deckers, who has lived in Oak Hill for many years, said he enjoyed the parade.

“It was phenomenal,” he said. “This was the first time I’ve seen everyone coming together. We all have differences of opinion, but that should only help us grow.”

One of the organizers of the parade, Ana Sporer, said there has been animosity between natives of the Oak Hill area and the migrating New York City natives.

“I think the parade is a great idea. This community is struggling and this brings everyone together and that is great,” Sporer said. “Next year we should have more music. I loved the costumes this year, though.”

The parade is a part of the larger Oak Hill Day festival that included food, music and other activities.

Shane Keith, who represented The Yellow Deli in the parade, said the deli uses it as a good opportunity to get involved in the community.

“The parade was nice. We have been in it both years,” Keith said. “We like being involved in our community.”

Amy Housmann, who has lived in Oak Hills only a couple of years, said she loves the event.

“This is to celebrate Oak Hill. I am thrilled it brings people into the hamlet,” Housmann said. “The more the merrier. This is a great community-based event and it is about having fun and freedom.”

A desperate piece of propaganda by a group who have failed miserably. When people move into a community they should adapt to it and not expect it to adapt to them. The idea that Oak Hill is a community that is in need of outsiders to come in and SAVE is is profoundly condescending. I am a third-generation resident and the handful of people who have crashed our peaceful community and tried desperately to drive a wedge between us know very well by now they are in the hot seat. This event was a total flop. It caused many noise calls to the police department because the noise was disturbing people as far away as Cornwallville and East Durham- it offended all kinds of local groups and residents. Teenagers arrived and became drunk. Floats were highly offensive. Some residents had to rope off their properties to keep them from being trampled. The whole thing was organized in secret by people trying to push out the locals. These are a bunch of people with personal agendas and anger issues- entitled children who just arrived. The extreme level of narcissism demonstrated by these adult-children is unprecedented in local history. This event is a hostile take over- an occupation- which delights a bunch of Brooklynites who are bused in for a money making party. Don't buy this junk reporting. Its a desperate attempt to re-write a very dark affront and EVERYBODY is talking about this today.
No matter what the reporter has been told by this self-serving group- NONE of the people mentioned and interviewed are locals- they are ALL newcomers. And the secret parade committee was not made of any locals. AND they never stated their objective was to save Oak Hill from itself- that's an invention after the whole thing was a dividing flop to try to spin that legacy. Oak Hill had long ago been pulled together by people who actually embrace others and make things happen.
Oak Hill Day and the Oak Hill Parade are wonderful, positive and fun community activities involving Oak Hill and the surrounding areas in Durham. There were so many beautiful and fun floats and walkers in the parade. I'm curious as to why you highlighted a political float instead of the colourful, happy parade participants.

It was made very clear to everyone interested in participating that no political or negative floats were allowed in the parade. This float with Donald Trump floating sternly above it, instead of lining up with the others registered in the parade, jumped into it in the middle of town. Knowing full well that it should not have been in it at all.

Your choice of image makes me wonder about the motive of this writer/photographer. As well as the angle of the story. Yes, there are city people moving into Oak Hill and revitalizing buildings that once were abandoned. However, they have integrated into the community quite well. Yes, there are growing pains as with any other community in a state of change. However, a day such as Oak Hill Day proves that we CAN get along. Oak Hill is a quirky, creative and kind community - long time and new residents alike. Sad that the fun side of the parade was not highlighted. Sad indeed.
You are clearly one of the six from Brooklyn who only talk among yourselves- one who refers to Oak Hill as 'our hamlet' which is highly offensive- it takes far more than just buying something and showing up and prancing down main street to make it your hamlet. Instead you plug your ears when others tell you what the other several hundred of us really think of you. For your information people from the city have been buying 'abandoned' houses from DECADES and fixing them up- LONG before you ever knew about Oak Hill- and THOSE people, like the locals who have been here for GENERATIONS. made Oak Hill palatable for you today. We did not need you to come save us. WE ALWAYS GOT ALONG AND HAD FAR BETTER PARTIES TOGETHER THAN THE CHEAP, FLAMBOYANT DRUNK FEST YOU THREW TO MAKE MONEY. And FYI the people who you imagine you've integrated with see right through you are are comparing notes now and your tide has already turned. You need to back off, make up for your mistakes and live here for 20-30 years and get along with each and every one here- and stop being self-righteous from Brooklyn. 'FUN' was as divisive as the 'everybody loves a parade so who could possibly object?' stunt you only thought you pulled off successfully. We see right through you and always will.
i wrote a comment two days ago. not inflammatory, just my opinion. why is it not posted? thank you.
And PS, Oak Hill is not 'quirky and creative' because you want it to be. Many of us have other ideas than turning it into a Brooklyn Woodstock with those kinds of purple houses and failed outsider artists.
I am writing in support of the Oak Hill Day Parade. I don't think it matters how long a person has lived in Oak Hill or nearby. So I am not going to say how long my family has been here. Who cares! It's true there were elements of the parade that may have been a bit off putting to certain folks. New people bring new ways of expressing themselves. I saw lots of people having a good time. Kids too. And i saw lots of folks I've known for years watching and marching in the parade. Small town life is famous for jealousies and gossip and airing of dirty laundry, so I am going to stay positive in my comments. I think Oak Hill is a better place because new comers have chosen to make this place their home or even second home. One family of new comers in particular truly set the pace for all the good things that have come our way. They embraced our history with wide open arms, opened a shop, hosted numerous parties on their beautiful property and made all feel welcome. They have devoted themselves to the betterment of Oak Hill. They even tore down an old place and built a brand new home right on top of it! They preserved its history by making it look like the old place. But they were unfairly gossiped about. Folks were worried that all the fuss about historic preservation would bring all kinds of trouble. It seems to me it just paved the way for all the good things happening today. New people no matter how different just means the town is jumping. I for one welcome the excitement around here.