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Article Published June 28, 2022

The Fourth of July Parade: Continuing a Proud Tradition

By By Aaron Rubin

The Fourth of July Parade in Ivoryton will return for its 15th annual celebration of the independence of the United States on July 4.

The parade steps off from Walnut Street and will see its participants walk down Main Street turn onto Comstock Avenue briefly before returning to Main St. The parade will conclude at the gazebo at the Ivoryton Green for an honoring of the American flag, according to Chris Shane, the President of the Ivoryton Village Alliance.

Onlookers at the parade can expect to see a variety of groups and local attractions as part of the event. An honor guard will be part of the ceremony firing weapons, as well as the Comstock Fife and Drum group and numerous veterans. Other groups and organizations taking part will include those from the Alliance, Bushy Hill Nature Center, the Ivoryton Playhouse, the local chapter of the Boy Scouts, the Essex Land Trust and town businesses. Members of the Irish Feis Team from the Westbrook Dance Academy and members of the Valley Regional High School football team will also be represented as part of the parade. According to Shane, the Chester Historical Society may also be part of the event, but has not officially joined the list of organizations represented in the parade.

Aside from the various groups taking part in the walk down Main Street, the attending public can also expect antique cars to roll down the parade’s main way as they follow from behind the majority of the participants. Shane expects a decent turnout to the parade with its attractions and main part of the day for all Essex residents.

The Grand Marshals of this year’s parade are Paul and Jeanine Fazzino, both of whom are members of the Essex Fire Department, the former of them having served twice as Fire Chief. For Shane, the choice to pick the couple as co-grand marshals was an easy choice, given their longstanding contributions to the community with Paul’s past leadership of the Fire epartment, and their combined experience at the Department dating back to 1982.

“[The Alliance] identifies people who have made major contributions to the community,” said Shane. “The whole thing with the Essex Fire Department, who are the first responders, is that it’s all volunteer, so they did wonderful service to the community over the years. This is how we’re saying, ‘thank you.’”

The attending public can enjoy the sight of the parade with their dogs in accompaniment, but they must be on a leash, according to Shane. He also says that while candy will be handed out to those in attendance, he says the policy regarding that is very simple.

“We don’t want people throwing candy at the kids [in the parade],” he said. “Kids run out in the middle of the road, so we don’t allow that.”

Shane says that while the coordination of parking is also bound to be complicated, the Alliance has been able to work out a plan for that part of the event, particularly as it has opened up for this year. Attendants can park their cars on Ivory Street for the first time as the event is being held, while Prive Swiss on Main Street has opened up parking on their lot as well. The Playhouse will also make parking available, which is opposite of the Ivoryton Inn on North Main Street.

For Shane and the rest of the Alliance, the town-wide ceremony could not be possible without the contribution of Lorraine Donovan, who put together the Alliance’s Fourth of July Committee in planning and leading the Fourth of July parade and its celebrations.

The parade will begin on Walnut Street at 10 am., and all participants should arrive at the starting point 30 minutes prior.