Hurricane Arthur pushed Edgartown’s Fourth of July parade back by one day, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants or the parade watchers who lined the route on a bright, sunny afternoon.
Parade marshall Joe Sollitto kicked off the parade at precisely 5 pm. The strains of bagpipes, courtesy of Scottish Society of Martha’s Vineyard pipers in the lead, announced the arrival of the parade to spectators anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first floats.
Children waving flags lined the streets anxiously awaiting the passage of the floats and the opportunity to snag candy tossed their way. Parents snapped photos.
The floats rolled by in all shapes and sizes, representing a variety of organizations. Island elected officials rolled past in decorated cars, Vineyard Sound, an a cappella group, sang as they rolled by, costumed Jabberwocky campers waved, miniature horses trotted, and improvisational actors staged scenes as they swaggered by — all drawing applause from the crowd.
Members of the MV Peace Council marchers brought up the rear of the parade and invited onlookers to pick up a poster with a message endorsing peace and join the group. Emergency vehicles, sirens blaring, signaled the end of the parade.
“We’ve come every year for the 4th of July since before Molly was born,” said Marylou Sullivan of Acton, tugging her granddaughter Molly Martin away from an oncoming Vineyard Vines float. “She’s ten. We’ve been coming, what, 16 years? I’m loving this one. It’s excellent, you forget that it’s not actually the 4th.”
Molly interjected. “I like seeing the candy,” she shouted, “flying at my face!”
Candy was definitely the highlight, according to several kids. “The candy was the best,” said Bruce Beaulieu, here for the fourth time with his parents, Claudia and Bruce, and his sister, Peia, from Boca Raton, Florida. “The candy, and the old cars,” he said.
Kate Beauvais of Hopkinton was there with her brothers Marc and Matt and her parents, Ed and Jen, for a week-long beach trip. “4th of July candy corns,” she shouted, chomping on bubblegum.
Her mother beamed. “I didn’t even know there was such a thing as July 4th candy corn,” she said. “We’re heading to the fireworks next. When you’re young, this is the highlight of the summer.”