Edgartown celebrates Independence Day

Edgartown hosts their 180th annual 4th of July parade


The sounds of bagpipes and drums filled the streets of Edgartown as the Fourth of July parade marched down Main Street, past the lighthouse, and back toward the Edgartown School on Thursday. 

The parade is a joint operation between the American Legion Post 186 and the town. Floats, old cars, and marchers on foot were directed out of the parking lot of the Edgartown School at 5 pm by Kristy Rose, administrative assistant to the Edgartown select board. 

Rose, reflecting on the annual event, said that it is important for the community to come together and celebrate today. “I think that it’s important to celebrate the freedoms that we do have in this country. There are a lot of countries that don’t have a lot of the freedoms that we have. Some people may disagree, but we’re allowed to disagree,” said Rose. 

Joseph Sollitto Jr. has been the organizer of the parade for the past decade, but before him Fred (“Ted”) Morgan Jr. was the longtime organizer. Morgan, who died in 2019, was a D-Day veteran who served the country during the storming of Normandy. This year’s 180th parade was dedicated to Morgan and all other D-Day veterans, in honor of the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944. His grandson, Dylan Morgan, who served in the Air Force, carried his grandfather’s uniform hat through the parade, leading the march. 

The parade had about 1,500 participants, and the crowds that came to watch seemed to be bigger than ever. Typically the parade draws in around 25,000 onlookers, but many expressed that the streets seemed to be busier than most years. 

The march moved forward to the beat of the drums played by musicians with the Milokan Cultural Center, located in Chilmark. The Cultural Center features ​​Haitian drumming played by musician Rick Bausman. Bausman noted that the center has a close relationship with Camp Jabberwocky, and regularly plays music on the beach for the campers and any members of the Island community interested in attending. 

This year Pond View Farms won Best Float, the third year in a row it has received the award. Their float was decorated with artwork made by the children, ages 5 to 15, who are enrolled in its pony camp. In the middle of the float was a large white papier-mâché horse, with a mane and tail made of red, white, and blue streamers. Sarah Doyle, the brains behind the pony camp operation, shared her excitement for this year’s float. “It’s such a nice thing, because they’re all different ages, and everybody does their part,” said Doyle. The float was led by a truck which held a miniature pony, named Harry Potter, who was dressed up as a unicorn. This year the farm is celebrating its 70th anniversary, making it the oldest continually operating horse farm on the Island, and soon it will be sending a horse to race in the Olympics. Although winning Best Float is exciting, it also puts some pressure on Doyle for future parades: “The kids like to win, they were already asking me what we are doing next year.”

Island Spirit Kayak drove a truck through the parade that had employees dressed as various types of sea life. “Come paddle with us,” one of the costumed crustaceans said. 

The parade was also joined by the Fire Department, the Sharks team, the Scottish Society of M.V., Amazonas Carpentry, other Island veterans, and more local organizations and businesses. 

As the parade wrapped up and the last pieces of candy were picked up from the streets, many onlookers headed down to the Edgartown Lighthouse to wait for the upcoming firework show.