It’s Parade Time In Chatham

by Tim Wood

CHATHAM – The good news is that Pogo Dave is back.

The bad news…well, there’s no bad news when it comes to the town’s popular Independence Day parade.

Pogo Dave, famed for his amazing gadgets and space-suit clad antics, has been absent from the parade for a number of years, but next Thursday he’ll join more than 90 other entrants in the procession that begins at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Shore Road and Main Street.

“Chatham — It’s a Shore Thing” is the theme of this year’s parade, and we can likely expect something impressive in that regard from the lead float from the Phillips Farm Family, which has won first place in seven of the last 10 parades.

“They always come up with a very creative entry,” noted Independence Day Parade committee chair Paul Stuka.

This year’s parade grand marshal, Karle Fehrle, a World War II veteran and longtime Chatham Band member, is also making history: he’ll be the third grand marshal over 100 years of age in the past several years. Mr. Fehrle is celebrating 103 years, and you can read more about him in the Band Time column in section 2 of this edition.

The parade will pass by the reviewing stand on the front lawn of the First United Methodist Church, at the corner of Main and Cross streets. Judges for this year’s parade are Chuck Borkoski, who submitted this year’s successful parade theme; recently retired Harbormaster Stuart Smith; and Monomoy High School Valedictorian Yu Ying Zou. Monomoy High School student Leyla Holmes will sing the National Anthem from the stand at the start of the parade.

On the subject of bands, they’re often the highlight of the parade, and this year the parade committee hired nine bands to march, and Stuka said many floats will also have bands. In fact, he said the number of bands in the parade made it hard to position entrants so that the music wouldn’t overlap. Returning bands include The Chatham Band, the Dennis-Yarmouth High School marching band, Chandler Travis Philharmonic, Jukin J and the Rockers, Chatham Fiddle Company and the Highland Light Scottish Pipe Band. New musical acts include Digney Fignus and the Wrackline Band.

With a handful more entries than last year and more music, “it’s probably going to be a livelier, louder parade,” he said.

Other popular parade participants returning this year include the Stage Harbor Sailing School, First Night Chatham, Chatham Squire and Mahi Gold. And, of course, Dave Clayman, also known as Pogo Dave.

The committee’s five members, along with police officers and CERT volunteers, will be along the parade route keeping things moving along, said Stuka.

“We’re just hoping it's a good day,” he said. There’s no rain date for the parade, but it will have to be pouring buckets or thundering and lightning to prompt a cancellation, he said. As of early this week, the National Weather Service was calling for sunny skies Thursday.

Parking, Traffic Information

With the largest crowds of the season expected at the parade — police estimate as many as 30,000 people, Stuka said — parking and traffic restrictions are being put in place by the police department.

As of 2:30 a.m. July 4, parking will be prohibited along the south side (town offices side) of Main Street from the rotary to Shore Road and on the north side from the rotary to Seaview Street and from Tale of the Cod to Shore Road. Parking will also be prohibited on Crowell Road to Tip Cart Road and on Tip Cart, Hitching Post and Depot Road. Tow zones will be in effect for these areas.

Chairs and blankets can be placed along Main Street in the downtown area in marked streetside parking after 2:30 a.m.; items placed prior to that will be removed.

Shore Road will close to traffic at 7 a.m., with access only for parade and local traffic. Traffic will be one way, and police officers will be available to provide assistance.

Main Street will close to traffic from the rotary to Shore Road beginning at 8:30 a.m. Main Street from the rotary to Crowell Road will close at 9 a.m.

Police officers will be in place to direct traffic out of town following the parade. Motorists are asked to follow their directions.