Spencer Grey Named Chatham July 4 Parade Grand Marshal

By: Tim Wood

The Bridge Street Buccaneer float was last year's grand prize winner, and will lead this year's parade. KAT SZMIT PHOTO

CHATHAM – More than 2,000 participants and many thousands more spectators are expected for the upcoming Fourth of July parade, the 122nd since the event began in 1896.

On Tuesday, parade committee chairman Brad Schiff announced that historian Spencer Grey had been chosen as the procession's grand marshal.

“We find it very fitting that Spencer, who is so respected and has a legacy of significant contributions toward preserving and history and character of the town, will be this year's grand marshal.”

Grey, 92, was a summer resident of Chatham his entire life before retiring here in the 1980s. A former English teacher, he ran the family's clothing store, The Sail Loft, and has been active in historical preservation, serving as the president and chairman of the Chatham Historical Commission, where he oversaw the expansion of the Atwood House Museum. Schiff said Grey led the planning for the 400th anniversary celebration of Champlain's landing in Chatham, and helped organize the celebration of the town's 300th anniversary in 2012. He also organized the Cape and Islands Historical Society and contributed to “Three Centuries in a Cape Cod Village: The Story of Chatham,” published for the 300th anniversary by the historical society. He also writes a column on Chatham history for The Chronicle.

Schiff said there were more than a dozen nominations for grand marshal, and the committee choose Grey because he has been a “tremendous force for honoring and preserving Chatham's history.”

Grey will lead the parade in style, riding in a red BMW Z8 sports car, Schiff said.

There are more than 100 entrants in this year's event, including more than a dozen new participants, which will make it one of the largest parades ever, he said. Keeping with a tradition established several years ago, the lead float will be last year's grand prize winner, the Bridge Street Buccaneers.

Judges Ginny Nickerson, Don Aikman and Colleen Cronin will award nine trophies, which will be given out at the July 11 board of selectmen's meeting. Winners will be announced in the July 6 edition of The Chronicle, and on the parade committee's website and Facebook page.

This year's theme is “Chatham for the Holidays.”

“Looking at the applications, the people of Chatham are using their imaginations, creativity and sense of humor to define Chatham for the Holidays,” Schiff said.

Early check-in for parade participants will be held June 29 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; June 30 from 2 to 7 p.m.; and July 1 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the police station on George Ryder Road. Check-in the day of the parade will be at the fish pier on Shore Road beginning at 7 a.m. Parade participants are encouraged to park at the Monomoy Regional Middle School on Crowell Road, where a shuttle bus will take them to the parade staging area on Shore Road beginning at 7 a.m.

The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Shore Road and Main Street, and ends at the corner of Crowell Road and Tip Cart Road.

Questions can be emailed to chathamparade@gmail.com. Detailed information as well as a map of the route are available on the parade committee's website, chathamparade.com. The map also includes one other piece of critical information: the location of port-a-potties.

“This year we've doubled the amount of port-a-potties” along the route, said Schiff. “That's the number one thing that's always asked.”