June 13, 2013 by comhomflt
Each year, on the second Saturday of June, we keep an eye on the weather, dress in our red, white, and blue, and head to our usual station along the road striped with red, white, and blue to watch the Gaspee Day Parade. What is this, you might ask? It is a celebration of colonial triumph over unjust British “taxation without representation,” a reminder that Rhode Island is indeed one of the thirteen original colonies. The parade is only one event among many, which include fireworks, a craft show, tours of the historic Pawtuxet village, and a burning of a mock HMS Gaspee to conclude the celebration. (Check out http://www.gaspee.org to further satisfy your curiosity.) Perhaps, when young ones are older, we will participate in more than just the parade, but for now, that is enough to satisfy us.
The parade is always anticipated with a mixture of excitement and fear; excitement of being with Pepere, Memere, and usually the cousins, and fear of the noise of drums, rifles, pistols, and cannons that accompany a colonial-themed parade. Everyone did well this year, with only one noise casualty, a sure sign that they are all getting older. As for the adults, we were only too thrilled at the number of fife and drum corps groups this year! The Kentish Guards and Pawtuxet Rangers are always our favorites, but there were some new ones this year that were fabulously dressed and paraded by with precision! If only we knew who they were!
We always enjoy the high school bands, as well, although this year did have its disappointing groups (ahem…Tollgate High School). It’s pretty safe to say Cranston outdid Warwick on the local end of things, but the cream of the crop, tip of the top, was the visiting Boston Crusaders, and there we stop! WOW! Amazing! Their horn section sounded like it could slip right into a Boston Pops concert without skipping a beat. They apparently played in the most recent Presidential inaugural parade, and we could see why!
We try to applaud the bands as they come by, hoping that will entice them to play right in front of us! We also applaud our elected leaders; only in Rhode Island could you see your entire Congressional delegation twice in as many weeks. But, we save our loudest applause for those who have risked their lives to protect us – the military, the veterans’ groups, and the fire and police departments. This year, one of the Seabee veterans gave a shout-out to our littlest sailor. Navy pride – oh yeah!
The parade has its funny moments, too. There is the “Providence Dancing Cop.” (Don’t ask, but if you really want to know, he has his own website.) There is the goofy group from Munroe Dairy. (The lady who plays the sax in her cow dress probably gets free Chick-Fil-A all year.) There are the Shriners with their mini cars and clowns (that scare our kids) and the odd Palestine music group. There is the Party Wagon. (An idea for the next VBT carnival, maybe?) And, of course, it wouldn’t be the Gaspee Day Parade without the Mummers Uptown String Band straight from Philly! I always want to launch into a rousing rendition of “Fly, Eagles, Fly!,” but no one is willing to join me to make it loud enough to be heard! Next year, we’re going to make posters, I think, just for them! :)
We’re so glad the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the parade went on! And maybe in a year or two, we will participate in the pre-parade 5K! Watch for us!!