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Trump Parade Organizer: 'You Are What Will Keep America Great'

Patch logo Patch 3 days ago Lisa Finn
Donald Trump standing in front of a car posing for the camera: Trump supporters turned out for a "NOFO-MINI-Maga" parade on the North Fork Saturday. © Lisa Finn/Patch Trump supporters turned out for a "NOFO-MINI-Maga" parade on the North Fork Saturday.

NORTH FORK, NY — Flags waving, a group of supporters turned out Saturday for a Trump "NOFO-MINI-Maga" parade that wended its way from Peconic to Orient and then through Greenport.

The event came a day before before a fourth "MAGA-Gras" Trump parade, organized by Shawn Farash, 29, of West Babylon, is set to head to Montauk from Seaford Sunday.

Saturday's event, organized by Vinny Tirelli of Mattituck, was smaller but those who participated marked the day with cheers of enthusiasm.

"Today was moving," Tirelli said. "I put this event together on Wednesday at 12p.m. on my lunch break — very short notice. I knew already that there were other events going on this weekend, and wanted to plan a 'smaller' North Fork run. I figured we’d have maybe 20 vehicles. We had over 60!"

The outpouring of support, Tirelli said, resonated. "In that short amount time, the calls, texts, messages, and everything I’ve gotten from people over the last few days is incredible. Thank you so much to everyone who came. You are what will Keep America Great."

Addressing participants before the event, Tirelli said: "We want to start it off the right way, though. We're going to do something they don't do a lot in America anymore. We're all going to take off our hats and say the Pledge of Allegiance."

Next, the group held a moment of silence for fallen military.

Tirelli is part of the group formed by Farash, who has organized the previous "MAGA-Gras" Trump parades, including one on the North Fork in September.

The idea for the North Fork event was born when Tirelli met Farash in Northport; although the two kept in touch, Tirelli said living so far out east, he wasn't able to attend as many parades as he would have hoped.

"I've had a lot of people say they wanted to get involved but they didn't want to take the ride all the way west," he said.

"A lot of people from out here were silent, and we're not silent anymore," Tirelli said. "It's not the silent majority anymore — it's loud. We are being seen and heard. People know where we stand now, and the support we've had is absolutely incredible," he said.

Tirelli, who attended the parade Farash organized on the North Fork last month, said he was moved. "Seeing the roads lined with all those Trump flags and American flags, it kind of goes right through you," he said.

Describing why he felt compelled to organize a local event, Tirelli said he believes many have been apprehensive about letting their political points of view be heard.

Tirelli, an EMT with the Mattituck Fire Department, has served in the military and has family members with careers in law enforcement. Saturday's event was not just a Trump rally; it was also a "Back the Blue" event, he said. Police officers, he said, have to show up at 2 a.m. when people are having the worst days of their lives. "And they do it, and do it well," he said.

Some spoke out on social media about Saturday's event on the North Fork and its impact on traffic and business during a time when the North Fork is experiencing significant issues with the large volume of cars on autumn weekends.

The parade passed through Greenport quickly and no protesters were seen on Front Street as they were at the past event last month.

Tirelli said he respects the political beliefs of others: While he is a "die-hard Republican, at the end of the day...if some other group wanted to have a parade for whoever they support, we would have no problem with that," he said. "That is your right as an American, to be able to voice your opinion for your political candidate," he said. "At the end of the day, whether Democrat or Republican, we are all American."

And he also wants to let Trump supporters find their voices. "I feel like there is a large contingent who remain silent because of everything that is going on in this country — and I think everyone should have the right to speak up for the President and for law enforcement," he said. "I just want to energize everybody."

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