HARWICH — It's almost cranberry harvest time, and Harwich is celebrating this weekend with a parade and a festival of arts and music.
The Harwich Hometown Parade is back this year, bringing floats, marching bands and family fun through Harwich Port and Harwich Center. A longtime staple of the Harwich Cranberry Festival, the parade is now an anchor event for the chamber of commerce's Fall for Harwich series. It kicks off Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at the east end of Harwich Port.
The parade committee recently announced the grand marshal for the 2016 parade. Riding in the seat of honor will be Harwich's John Ayer, who recently retired after 40 years with the Harwich Fire Department.
“It's going to be a great parade,” Chamber Executive Jeremy Gingras said Monday. In terms of the number of parade entries, “I don't have any counts yet, but there will be lots of activity,” he said.
The parade route is similar to last year's, starting at the corner of Freeman Street and Route 28, running the length of Main Street in Harwich Port before turning north on Doane Road. The parade will travel to Sisson Road via South Street, making its way to Main Street in Harwich Center. Instead of ending at Bank Street, it will march north on Oak Street to end at Old Colony Road.
Gingras said the route is designed to draw people to Harwich Center for the weekend's other big draw, the Harwich Cranberry Arts and Music Festival at Brooks Park.
The two-day festival draws artisans and craftsmen from around the region, with 130 different vendors showing off their finest offerings, from clothing and knickknacks to paintings, photographs and other objets d'art. The arts and crafts fair will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and admission and parking are free. Food vendors will also be on site to serve up meals and snacks.
But for those looking for a little musical fun, the time to visit is Saturday, where the CranJam Music Festival rocks on from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The music lineup offers something for all musical tastes, starting with local roots rockabilly soul group Sarah Swain and the Oh Boys, followed by Cajun-flavored rockabilly bluegrass group Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys at 1:30 p.m. Reggae band Jah Spirit takes the stage at 3 p.m., followed by world beat dance group Entrain at 4:30. The last act of the night, Donna the Buffalo, performs at 6 p.m.
Described as a distinctive, groove-heavy “band for the people,” Donna the Buffalo has been continuously touring America since 1989 with its signature mix of danceable music.
Admission to CranJam is free, and beer and wine will be sold during the music festival, which takes place on the ballfield at Brooks Park. The music festival is sponsored by the Harwich Cranberry Festival.