CHATHAM – Ahoy, maties. The Buccaneers have taken over the town's Fourth of July parade Monday.
The Bridge Street Buccaneers, a neighborhood group making their debut in the parade, captured the Chatham Cup prize as the best overall entry out of more than 100 participants.
That's the largest number of entries ever, according to Independence Day parade committee Chairman Brad Schiff. Officials also estimated the crowd may have been the biggest ever, with estimates of between 20,000 and 30,000 people along the parade route.
The Buccaneers float featured pirate puppets manning confetti-firing guns on two small-scale ships. Balloon bombs were deployed through tubes in the side, much to the delight of children along the route.
Parade judges Bob Denn, Catie Barr and Ginny Nickerson awarded the Chatham Health and Swim Club second place overall, and the Women of Fishing Families float third place overall.
The Ken Owens Memorial Soccer Jamboree float won best youth; perennial parade powerhouse Phillips Family Farm won most patriotic for their giant flag and fireworks display; the yellow-festooned Cobb Family garnered the best small float award, while Chatham Pottery's mermaid-themed entry won best large float; best civil float went to the Chatham Turkey Trot folks; and Martha and Philip Hoffman won funniest float.
Winners will be awarded their trophies at the July 12 board of selectmen's meeting at 5 p.m. at the annex.
While logistically the parade went off without a hitch, there were a few bumps in the road. A veteran riding in a truck at the front of the parade took a tumble near Tale of the Cod and was taken by ambulance to Cape Cod Hospital with minor injuries, according to the fire department. Another man apparently fainted from the heat near the Eldredge Public Library. In both cases, a plan for dealing with medical emergencies along the parade route was implemented and worked well, said Chatham Police Lt. Michael Anderson. Rescue staff on ATV-like “Gators” were able to move the stricken people to sidestreets – Chatham Bars Avenue and Seaview Street, in these cases – where they were met by ambulances.
“No ambulance could have made it on the parade route,” Anderson noted.
Traffic dispersed from town without any complications, he added.
Schiff estimated that the biggest crowd growth was in the Crowell Road area. This was the second year the parade route was extended down Crowell Road, and word apparently spread about it, drawing more people, he said.
The parade committee will begin planning next year's event later this week. Schiff said any suggestions can be emailed to the group at firstname.lastname@example.org.