PLEASANT VALLEY – As hundreds of residents and visitors gathered in Pleasant Valley on Saturday for the town’s “Festival of Lights,” one float drew immediate criticism for a banner with vulgar language.
With hundreds of adults and children gathered along the parade route on Saturday evening, one tractor-trailer displayed a flag on the back of the rig that irritated many attendees.
The dump trailer, decorated with holiday lighting, had a flag on the back of the trailer with bold letters “FUCK BIDEN” in plain view. The prominent display resulted in immediate reactions from families that saw it.
“This is the type of thing that Johnny Dell allows in a family event,” questioned attendee Michelle Bersman. Her question was directed at Pleasant Valley Town Supervisor John DelVecchio.
Pleasant Valley business owner Dan McRitchie brought his family, including his young daughter to the parade. “It’s unfortunate that this particular float was assigned a number for judging purposes, knowing that a flag with vulgar language was allowed to participate in the parade, letting hundreds of children see it.” The owner of the Pleasant Valley Agency added, “I embrace free speech but I don’t need to explain to my daughter why someone would use that flag in a holiday parade. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that behavior like this has been allowed at a town event.”
Many people on a Facebook page dedicated to Pleasant Valley expressed similar concerns, denouncing the flag’s language and raising concerns about whoever allowed that flag to be in the parade. One commenter called the flag “Inappropriate and disgraceful,” while Pleasant Valley resident Mike Rutigliano blamed Supervisor DelVecchio. “This town voted for Johnny Dell. Nothing surprises me,” calling the display “disgusting.”
The town’s website has a link to the “Festival of Lights” event. When visitors to the website click on the link, a message appears asking visitors to check the spelling of the link, adding “This site can’t be reached.”
It is on rare occasion that we at Mid-Hudson News express our opinion about a story that we publish; however, in this case, we are compelled to do so. As a news publication, we support the right to free speech and the open press, but the “F… Biden” banner went too far. This is a continuation of the hate speech that we have seen in the last several years, which continues to rachet up on social media.
With children of all ages in attendance, vulgar language had no place, and the banner should not have been allowed.
Had the organizers not known about it ahead of time, when it was observed in the parade, someone in authority should have stopped the float and demanded that the banner be removed. If the request was denied, the float should have been removed from the parade lineup.