Chatham Parade Returns To Form: Crowds, Marchers Expected At Pre-pandemic Levels

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Independence Day

A scene from last year's parade.  FILE PHOTO

CHATHAM – Last year, the town managed to pull off an almost-normal Independence Day parade, despite COVID still being present in the community. With levels of infection even lower this year, officials anticipate record-breaking crowds for the July 4 tradition.

And the number of parade participants has almost reached its pre-pandemic level, according to Independence Day Parade committee chair Justin Bohannon. As of early this week, there were 72 official entries, and there's always a few last-minute marchers who like to pop in.

“We are looking forward to another great parade and things working their way back to normal,” Bohannon said.

This year's parade them is “Chatham: As Salty as it Gets!” Many regular parade participants will be back again this year, including perennial favorites such as the Chatham Band, Chatham Beach Chair, Chatham Shark, Chatham Bars Inn, the Chatham Anglers, First Night Chatham, the Stage Harbor Yacht Club, the Yarmouth Minutemen, Witches on the Water, First Night Chatham, and the Chatham Squire. Past prize winners including the Magner Family and Phillips Farm have signed up to return, along with local scouts, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the Chatham Conservation Foundation, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Expect some new entries as well as a few surprises, said Bohannon, as well as a flotilla's worth of antique cars. Bands slated to march include the Highland Light Scottish Pipe Band, Slightly Tooned, Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School Marching Band and Steve Morgan and the Kingfish (see the listing of participants and their order in the parade accompanying this story).

Leading marchers will be this year's parade marshal, Tommy Doane. A long-time volunteer and business owner, Doane was nominated by Lynne O'Brien, who called him “a friend and supporter of everyone” who has a deep history and love of Chatham but “never takes any credit or glory.”

Artist Ginny Nickerson will return as a parade judge this year, and she'll be assisted by two Monomoy High School graduates – twin sisters Nicole and Victoria Peterson, who were the Class of 2022 valedictorian and salutatorian. Will Mulholland, a Chatham resident and Nauset High School Class of 2022 president, will sing the National Anthem.

The parade will follow the same route as the past few years, starting at the intersection of Main Street and Shore Road. Marchers will head down Main Street past the rotary to the traffic lights where it will turn right on Crowell Road and conclude at Tip Cart Road. The extended route has allowed for an expanded viewing area and lets paradegoers spread out.

On behalf of his committee, Bohannon extended special thanks to Police Chief Mark Pawlina for his help and guidance over the years.

“We wish him happiness in his retirement,” Bohannon said.

There's more to this holiday weekend than the parade, beginning with fireworks and entertainment at Veterans Field on Saturday, July 2 (see separate story).

Don't forget the 55th annual Pancake Festival, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chatham. A hearty pancake breakfast is a great way to start the day as well as support a good cause. Get a freshly cooked stack at the elementary school on Depot Road beginning at 7 a.m. Not only do you get all the pancakes you can eat, but bacon, milk, juice and coffee, too. All for a mere $15 for adults, $5 for kids under 12; kids under 5 are free and families of four get a deal for just $30. Proceeds help support the Rotary's contributions to local organizations such as Monomoy Community Services, Chatham Food Pantry, scholarships and support for the Goll Farm School in Liberia.

Finally, finish the holiday with a Chatham Athletics game at iconic Veterans Field. The A's face the Orleans Firebirds at 7 p.m.


Parking, Traffic Restrictions

A number of parking restrictions will be in place for the parade. There will be no parking allowed on the south side of Main Street (town offices side) from the rotary to Shore Road beginning at 2:30 a.m. July 4. No chairs will be allowed along Main Street until after 2:30 a.m. A no parking-tow zone will be in place on Crowell Road south of Tip Cart Drive to Main Street.

Beginning at 7:30 a.m. on July 4, Shore Road from Old Harbor Road to Main Street will be one way southbound until the end of the parade turns onto Main Street. The downtown business area will be closed to all traffic at 8:30 a.m., and the intersection of Route 28 and Crowell Road will be closed at 9 a.m. All inbound traffic will be detoured onto Old Queen Anne and Queen Anne roads. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m.

There is no rain date for the parade.