Fall For Harwich Returns

By: William F. Galvin

Topics: Community events

Retired Fire Chief Norman Clarke Jr. will be the grand marshal in Sunday’s Harwich Hometown Parade. FILE PHOTO

Hometown Parade Kicks Off Celebration Sunday, But Beach Day Cancelled

HARWICH – After a year's hiatus due to the pandemic, Fall for Harwich is back, with numerous events scheduled over the next several weeks beginning with Sunday's Hometown Parade.

Saturday's planned Beach Day, however, has been cancelled. The Harwich Cranberry Festival Committee announced that it was not able to muster enough volunteers to oversee the day-long Red River Beach event. The committee also could not secure a food truck to provide refreshments for the day.

But the Harwich Hometown Parade will get rolling again on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 11:30 a.m. The grand marshal selected for last year’s parade, retired Fire Chief Norman Clarke Jr., will be the honored guest for this year’s event.

Clarke retired from the fire department in July 2020 after 43 years of service to the community. Clarke said a lot of things were put on hold this past year, adding “I didn’t even get to participate in my last town meeting as chief.”

“I’m humbled that I wasn’t forgotten,” Clarke said of the announcement he received from Chamber of Commerce Executive Secretary Cyndi Williams and Fire Chief David LeBlanc that he would be grand marshal of this year’s parade.

Last September the  Parade was canceled because of COVID, Williams said. So this year, as things opened up and the chamber realized there could be a hometown parade, Williams said she reached out to Chief LeBlanc to plan the parade together.

“Chief Clarke is a very dedicated, passionate and humble man and we wanted to show him what he meant to our community,” Williams said. “Chief Clarke also embodies the very spirit of public service. His focus has always been on serving the public and he has always advocated  for the firefighters. He realized if you take care of the firefighters they will take care of the public.”

“This is an honor to me,” Clarke said.” I love the fire department and the people there. I’m absolutely honored to be the grand marshal, and my family is very excited.”

The theme of the parade this year is “Celebrating Harwich’s Seven Villages.” Williams said there is a lot of participation from each of the villages this year. The plan is to lead off the parade with the  grand marshal, and the participants will follow grouped by village.  The Harwich Town Band will perform and there will be other musical groups. 

It's likely that a lot of fire department apparatus from across the Cape will be rolling through the streets of Harwich Sunday, Williams said. 

The parade route has been expanded this year. Floats and marching groups will line up on Freeman Street and Gorham Road and the parade will roll west along Route 28 through Harwich Port to Doane Road, turning right and continuing on to South Street, turning left to Sisson Road, then right on Sisson Road and proceeding to Harwich Center with a right on Main Street and left on Oak Street. It will end at Monomoy Regional High School.

The town will be alive on the following weekend with the two-day Harwich Cranberry Arts and Music Festival, held behind the community center. The sky will light up Saturday evening, Sept. 18, with the chamber of commerce-sponsored fireworks to be set off at 8 p.m. alongside Monomoy Regional High School.

Hometown Parade Kicks Off Celebration Sunday, But Beach Day Cancelled