HARWICH PORT — Spectators will be able to “Feel the Rhythm of Harwich” during the Harwich Hometown Parade that will roll through the village on Sunday, Sept. 9. That rhythm may have a little bit of a go-kart hum to it.
This year's Grand Marshal is Emulous E. “Buddy” Hall, a lifelong resident of Harwich, who dedicated almost 50 years to community service and who has kept youngsters smiling for 58 years with Bud's Go-Karts at the corner of Route 28 and Sisson Road.
The parade follows Beach Day, a full day of activities for the whole family at Red River Beach from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cyndi Williams said there is a lot of interest in the parade this year, with lots of floats and bands that will reflect the “Feel the Rhythm of Harwich” theme as it rolls along the route. The parade is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. and run from Freeman Street, along Route 28 to Doane Road, then up Doane Road, turning left through the Sisson Road intersection to South Street and the Harwich Elementary School, ending at the Harwich Cultural Center.
Floats are encouraged to move slowly along South Street and there will be police assistance along that stretch, Williams said. All parade units will be required to terminate at the cultural center lot. No units will be allowed to travel with occupants on floats past that location.
This will be the fourth Hometown Parade since the chamber of commerce picked up the ball and began rolling with the fall parade after the Harwich Cranberry Festival made the decision to focus its efforts more on the arts and music side of things with the crafts fair and Cranjam music festival behind the community center. Those events will take place the following weekend, Sept. 15 and 16, and the chamber will put on the fireworks show on Saturday, Sept. 15 in conjunction with the festival.
Williams said last week more than 20 floats have committed to participate in the parade, and she anticipates as many as 40 will roll through the streets. There are four bands and a number or organizations involved, including Monomoy Regional High School and Cape Cod Regional Technical High School. There will be police and fire apparatus and Good Times Ice Cream will be handing out samples. The chamber is also extending the opportunity for politicians to march in the parade.
The bands will include Earth Junior, Drumma Queens, Clayton Reistano Project and the Harwich Town Band. Santa will also be in Harwich to check on all the good children, Williams said.
“There's a lot of excitement around the parade,” Williams said. It will fill out the weekend nicely after the Harwich Cranberry Festival's Beach Day, offering a lot of fun activities at Red River Beach on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Why Buddy as grand marshal?
“The committee felt he was a longstanding icon in the community with his go-kart business and the positions he has held in town,” Williams said of Hall.
“I never dreamed of it, it was unexpected,” Hall said of the honor.
The 95-year-old Hall will be rolling through town not in one of his go-karts but riding in the comfort of his white 1973 Mustang convertible. He will be followed by the Masonic Lodge float. Hall is the oldest former Post Master of the lodge.
Hall says he was not born in Harwich but in the Hyannis Hospital in 1923 when it was just a house. But Harwich has always been his home, except for the three years he served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, and time away over the winter in Sebring, Fla., where he bought a farm in 1988.
He has served the town in many capacities over nearly 50 years. He was on the finance committee for 15 years, planning board for eight years and was the town's representative to the predecessor to the Cape Cod Commission, the Cape Cod Economic Development Commission. He also served as a volunteer fireman for 22 years. Public safety is in his blood; his father was the first police chief in town in 1933 and his brother, Charlie Hall, was fire chief.
“We did our share of contributing to Harwich and I enjoyed it,” Hall said.
In the late 1970s he made a commitment to conservation when he donated Bowman's Island in the Herring River to the town. Looking back, he said it would probably be worth $2 million today.
He has spent the past 58 years operating his go-karts each summer. Hall said he was in Sudbury one afternoon 58 years ago and saw go-karts and stopped and watched them for a while. Hall said he knew the right spot for go-karts in Harwich and he leased the land with an option to buy. Within a couple of years he owned the land where he continues to operate.
The popular attraction has 18 to 20 go-karts, and much of the maintenance and repairs has been done by Hall, with the help of family, until this year when he “gave it up. But I come in every day now to stay on top of things.”
He said in 58 years the popularity of the go-karts hasn't dropped off like many other businesses. “I make a living out of it,” he said.
Over the years he has had many followers. He said Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas P. “Tip” O'Neill, who had a summer home in Harwich, would bring his grandchildren for rides. People still come up to him and tell him how they spent time there as children.
“They say I was here 27 years ago or I learned to drive here. Others say we make a point to come here every year,” Hall said. “The grandparents bring their kids. We attract more people into Harwich than any other business.”
The parade is sponsored by Harwich Paint and Decorating. Williams extended a thanks to Barrows Excavating for providing the necessary flat-bed vehicles for the floats.