By Marjorie Nesin
---- — Just three days after the close of St. Peter’s Fiesta, Gloucester residents are gearing up for a different type of celebration — the Fishtown Horribles Parade, with the Boulevard concerts and fireworks that accompany it.
The funky parade that featured mostly farmers and animals in costumes in its first years more than 65 years ago, now boasts a line of mostly floats on wheels, but parade coordinator Al Kipp would like to see even more floats.
“It started out as a bunch of farmers parading through the city and now its a full blown production,” Kipp said.
Whether entrants are inspired to parade on foot or by way of decorative float, Kipp welcomes everyone to enter and meet at the high school between 3 p.m. and the parade’s kick off at 6 p.m.
“I’d like to see more horribles,” Kipps said. “I’d like to see more people getting together building floats to put in the parade.”
Because construction crews have blocked off part of the school’s parking lot due to Newell Stadium construction, parade organizers are insisting that people not try to park at the school. Floats, however, will all line up in the lot beside the school’s auto shop. Vehicles still parked in the float area after 2 p.m. will be towed.
“All floats are going to the side of the school. We’ll be down there directing everybody, but the main thing is there’s absolutely no parking at the high school,” Kipp said. “Any construction you’ve got to do, do most of it at home.”
The parade flows down Centennial Avenue over to Western Avenue, then runs up Western, through Tally’s Corner and crosses to Rogers Street. The march then curves up Manuel Lewis to Main Street, then runs up Main before hooking a right on Pleasant and a left on Prospect toward Railroad Avenue where it will head back to the high school via Washington Street. Those planning to watch can expect a team of horses, a solo pony, an array of floats.
“Just come out, enjoy yourselves, have a good time, and when you see the money collectors come by donate because that’s how we fund the parade,” Kipp said.
This year’s parade general marshal Jeffrey Stockman, a local pediatrician, has participated in a slew of parades in the past and was chosen for his involvement and fun family floats. Stockman even dressed as a lobster one year.
“He and his family every year dress up as horribles and go out in the parade,” Kipp said. “I chose Dr. Stockman because he’s been loyal to the parade every year.”
Though Kipp and the rest of the parade team work fully on a volunteer basis, they embrace the reward of hearing people compliment the parade in the following days.
Ringo Tarr and Barry Pett, who organize the fireworks that follow the parade sandwiched by the concert series, too work for the satisfaction of their results.
“The show is on as scheduled,” Pett said Monday. “It’s going to be quite a phenomenal show. At one point there’ll be some very patriotic red, white and blue fireworks.”
Pett and Tarr rely on donations to fund the annual July 3 show and another later in the summer. This year, they have raised enough money to cover the pre-Independence Day show and are gearing up to collect another $15,000 for the second show.
“We have worked over the last number of years to really up the quality of the shows,” Pett said. “We’ll see some new and some very dynamic special presentations.”
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at email@example.com.