Fourth of July parade a magical time for Camp Jabberwocky

Eighty campers and volunteers dressed as fairytale characters and brought a bit of magic to the annual Fourth of July parade.

Camp Jabberwocky danced throughout the entire parade. — Photo by Michael Cummo

Parade goers dressed in all shades of red, white, and blue crowded the streets of Edgartown to watch the annual Fourth of July parade on Saturday evening. There was music, dancing, candy tossing and flag waving. Some participants marched to the beat of a drum, some danced through the street, and some stood and waved from on top of colorfully decorated floats. It was a fun time for all, but for Camp Jabberwocky, it was magical.

Camp Jabberwocky is a residential summer camp for people with disabilities located off of Greenwood Avenue in Vineyard Haven. Campers and volunteers have participated in the parade for more than 10 years. This year, the chosen theme was “fairytales.” A castle float led the way, followed by drummers, campers, and volunteers in the street dressed as characters out of classics from Disney to Mother Goose. The bright red Camp Jabberwocky bus followed behind the fairytale procession.

Camp Jabberwocky’s executive director Liza Gallagher appreciates the parade for the visibility it gives the camp in front of the rest of the Island.

“It’s such a nice way to highlight Jabberwocky in the community,” she said. “We have over 150 volunteers in the summer, and I would say more than 20 percent of them have become volunteers after seeing the parade and seeing the campers and volunteers participate.”

The campers and volunteers spend three days preparing for the parade. Of the 150 volunteers, many were up late into the night putting the finishing touches on the costumes and float.

“A lot of people have a lot of pride in the program, and I think the campers being focused on in such a special way, with people looking at their incredible costumes and how great they look and how happy they are, it’s just a great way for people to get a little glimpse of what happens at Jabberwocky,” Ms. Gallagher said.

Caroline Miskovsky, 15, lives in San Francisco but spends her summers on-Island. She participated in the parade for the first time on Saturday, dressed as a child of the “old woman who lived in a shoe.”

“This is my first year, and I really, really love it,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun;, the campers get super-excited, and it makes the counselors happy when the campers are happy.”

Rapunzel, or Madelin Butler, 13, had a great view of the crowds from atop the castle. She smiled, waved, and tossed her hair over the edge for eager young parade-goers to catch. Her mom was a counselor at the camp, and now her family makes a special trip from California to help out with the parade.

“It’s really fun that we get to ride on the float,” she said. “I guess we kind of get the crowd ready for Jabberwocky. I also like riding on the float so I don’t have to walk.”

Larissa Ho, 8, was dressed as Periwinkle, Tinkerbell’s sister, and sat on the floor of the float waving to the crowds through a window in the castle. Occasionally, sweet goodies came flying into the castle.

“It was fun, and I had candy,” she said. “I liked all the people waving, but the candy was my favorite part.”