Today is the day to pull all the red, white, and blue bunting out of storage, shake off the cobwebs, and festoon the front porch with pride. Today is the day to clean the rust off the grill and stock up on franks and buns and apple pie, light sticks and yard games and baseball caps. Today we mow the lawn, set the stage, prepare to hoist the flag. And tomorrow we celebrate. Happy birthday, U.S.A!
The Fourth of July is really Edgartown at its best, so get down there and stake out your spot on the parade route, then hit the harbor for the fireworks. The parade starts at the Edgartown School, where you will see the fellas from the Colonial Navy band getting their hot dogs on in the Cases’ yard. All lined up, and ready to march, the floats, bands and painted poodles will make their way along West Tisbury Road toward Main Street, passing Hilary Grannis and crew sipping mimosas upon her front porch, past people on lawn chairs along Cannonball Park, where some have been waiting for hours while their children cartwheeled, played tag, and climbed the monuments.
Next, the veterans lead the troops right onto Main, into the eager throngs of children hungry for tootsie rolls and peppermints. Through the crowd, the firefighters race the old button tub, the mini horses and llamas delight, and Joe Cazeault chauffeurs his grandkids who bestow sweets upon the masses.
Left at the Monument, onto Pease’s Point, they make their curving way toward Morse Street, bagpipes piping, fifers fifing, ladies on roller skates blowing their bubbles, and onto Morse, where Shannon Smith claps until her hands are numb, as the campers of Jabberwocky boast this year’s clever theme, which will once again win them the grand prize. Left onto Fuller, the parade continues. Some tiny dancers lose a bit of steam; an old car gets a bit overwhelmed – sputters, dies; a horse poops. But there on the sideline, a young spectator hands water and lemonade to weary passing peacocks, a familiar face appears for a chat and a laugh with the stalled motorist, and children giggle at the equine’s olfactory offerings.
As our army turns onto Thayer Street, it is full steam ahead, buglers bugling and jugglers juggling and the color guard pounding the pavement with precision. A well-oiled machine, turning right onto Water Street, with the harbor to their left, where boats prepare for the fireworks, and to their right, viewers in rocking chairs on bunting-clad porches, their white picket fences heavy with this year’s roses.
Past the brick steps of the Colonial Inn, our masses march toward the setting sun, and right onto Main Street, to the viewing stand at the Old Whaling Church, where we pause for a moment, conveniently close to the monumental stones in front of the Courthouse that bear the names of Edgartonians who have served and sacrificed to make possible such a day as this.
Marchers cover their earlier steps, up Main Street to West Tisbury Road, where the last of the young revelers at Cannonball Park cover their ears as the fire trucks go by, honking their horns, the finale and traditional caboose to this annual train.
Now seeking sustenance, our paraders partake of a hot dog, some chowder, a safely stowed candy or two, and prepare to head back down into town, this time as spectators themselves — a child on her fathers’ shoulders, another holding his grandmother’s delicate hand, a teeny tiny asleep in mother’s arms — to be dazzled as fireworks light up the sky, red, white, and blue, punctuating another year of celebrating this, our land of the free and home of the brave.
The parade begins at exactly 5 pm, and the fireworks begin at dusk.