Whether they came to show off their stuff, or just have a good time, families and businesses brought their floats and costumes Tuesday to another zany and colorful edition of Gloucester's Fishtown Horribles Parade.
The 67th anniversary of the Gloucester parade brought out its usual varied cast of floats, marching bands, classic cars and walkers costumed as the its trademark horribles. Along the route, crowds of residents and visitors alike lined the streets, cheering on a uniquely Gloucester take on the horribles theme.
Tom Johnson, chef at Castle Manor Inn's Seaglass Restaurant, joined with the manor's staff on a trailer made into a castle with a drawbridge for this year's parade.
It was his and Castle Manor Inn's first year in the Horribles parade, he said, and while the coats of arms hanging on the castle walls read "Seaglass," he says they weren't really there to advertise. The manor and restaurant staff wanted to put a float together, Johnson said, and that's why they took part.
"It's more about having a good time with the staff and the kids," Johnson said.
Geoffrey Richon and Shep Abbott brought out a hand-pulled float that Abbott has had running in the parade for almost 20 years. The wooden handcart, covered with white film, cymbals, cowbells and drums has looked different each time it's run, Abbott said.
"It's called the horrible rhythm machine," he added.
This year, the white handcart sported a replica of the Unitarian Universalist Church's steeple.
The parade wound from its assembly grounds at Gloucester High School, out Centennial Avenue, down Western Avenue and along Rogers Street, turning up Manuel F. Lewis Street, picking up cheers on Main Street, up on to Pleasant Street, and then up Railroad Avenue to Washington Street.
From there, the Horribles hung a left down Centennial Avenue before landing back at the high school. The parade was followed by a fireworks display over Gloucester's Outer Harbor, presented by The Gloucester Fund.
Gloucester's first Fishtown Horribles parade wound its way along Main Street in 1945, as a parody of more traditional Independence Day parades.
Tuesday night, the Abbott and Castle Manor "floats" joined a menagerie of others, from Gorton's float showing off American accomplishments ranging from minutemen to space travel, down to a float with a dory under sail done by Maritime Gloucester.
Local politicians and political groups also joined in the fun; Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante had floats this year, as did Congressman John Tierney and his challenger, Richard Tisei.
Kory Curcuru, standing with a hard hat in the bed of a white pickup truck, said he and a few others came to announce their website "ovathebridge.com," which he billed as a community video site.
"We're the only bridge in Gloucester not under construction," Curcuru said.
Others were out to celebrate moments of triumph.
"We're looking to celebrate (our championship) and have the whole city see," said Mark Orlando, coach of the Cape Ann Vikings softball team.
The team of 12 girls rode, in uniform, in the back of a pickup truck. They beat Manchester Essex for the championship this year, Orlando said.
Volunteers from West Parish Elementary School presented a giant pop-up history book as their float this year. Sherri Lewis, a volunteer at the school's library, said the school chose to support libraries in the parade. The book shows off some brief flashes of American history on the eve of Independence day.
"It's in support of local libraries," she said.
For Bruce Ecolani, the parade is more basic than that. Ecolani drove one of Timberline's trucks along the parade route, said he's been coming for five years and while he enjoys it, Ecolani said he comes because his son Charlie loves it.
"I do it for him, right here," said Ecolani, his son riding in the truck cab.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.