Chesterfield’s July Fourth parade back in style for 75th edition

  • Ray Laroche pours ice into the ice cream churner made during the Chesterfield 4th of July parade Monday morning. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Ann Maggs, a member of the Heritage Pops Orchestra, sings as everyone waits for the Chesterfield 4th of July parade to start Monday morning. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Brooke, 10, Johnny, 7, and Faith, 8, Stanisewski play cards under the shade of three umbrellas while they wait for the Chesterfield Fourth of July parade to start Monday morning. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Micah Sinelnikv,2, watches the Chesterfield 4th of July parade Monday morning. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Andrew Galvagni, 6, rides Buster while his mother, Heather Mason, holds the reins during the Chesterfield Fourth of July parade Monday morning. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Trevor, the games man, greets the bystanders at the Chesterfield 4th of July parade Monday morning. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Stephanie Kellogg works on painting Grace Folsom's face while Emery Graves waits her turn at the Chesterfield 4th of July parade Monday morning. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Ludmila and Bernard Fleury wait for the 4th of July Chesterfield parade to start Monday morning. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Sierre Ismail-Roszko, 2, waves her flag during the Chesterfield Fourth of July parade Monday morning. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Mike Tomaskowicz and Cassandra Healy,(holding Spencer) watch the Chesterfield 4th of July parade Monday morning. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Lillie Crocker, 11, and her dog Tilly at the Chesterfield Fourth of July parade Monday morning. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Destinee Parkinson rides M&M during the Chesterfield 4th of July parade Monday morning. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Michaela Rock, a member of the Goshen Fire Department, sprays people in the crowd as she passes during the Chesterfield Fourth of July parade Monday morning. For more parade photos, see Page B3. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Mckenna Morrey works the bubble machine on the New Hingham Elementary School fourth grade float during the Chesterfield Fourth of July parade Monday morning. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

For the Gazette
Published: 7/4/2022 7:36:06 PM

CHESTERFIELD — The town center was full of music and excitement as people of all ages lined Main Road and South Street, sitting on camp chairs and blankets, waving American flags and sporting broad smiles in preparation for the 75th Fourth of July parade.

This is the biggest day of the year in Chesterfield, drawing visitors from all over western Massachusetts and beyond. This year, the festivities and traditional parade were back after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

While some feared that the event might have lost its draw because of its absence in 2020 and 2021, organizers said the crowd was as big as, if not bigger than, in previous years.

“I just found out that the parking lot is full,” said Parade Committee member Leslie Kellogg a half-hour before the parade was to begin. “I think that there has been a lot of pent-up excitement about the parade, about being outside and having fun.”

Standing under clear blue skies, many parade-goers, hands over their hearts, sang along with The Heritage Pops Orchestra as they kicked off the parade playing the national anthem from the bandstand in front of the Town Hall.

This year’s parade featured several local officials, the Caledonia Pipe Band, The Florence Community Band and the Fabulous Brass Band, Bright Spot Therapy Dogs, The Hilltown Misfits 4-H Club, the Hilltown Sled Dogs, a contingent of antique cars, equestrian groups, and several fire departments.

As per tradition, the day began with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Chesterfield Fire Department. Historical exhibits at the Edwards Museum were available to see throughout the day, as were food and vendor booths, face painting, balloon art, and the Hilltown Art display was on show at the Town Hall.

Christina Cassidy, of Northampton, said she had been waiting for the return of the parade so that she could bring her 6-year-old, Madison, to the event that she had grown up with.

“I have lived in the area all my life and always loved coming to this parade,” Cassidy said. “It’s nice, it’s genuine and the people are kind and are proud of their community and their country without being aggressively nationalistic.”

Alfred Falcetti of Westfield attended the event with his friend Barbara Conway of Springfield.

“This is my first time coming to the parade and I am really impressed with the enthusiasm and friendliness of everyone here,” she said.

Falcetti said their day started with a pancake breakfast and that he was looking forward to the “famous chicken dinner.”

“This is just a great day” he said, “It’s the one day that Chesterfield has to shine and they really do!”

Many in attendance noted how they enjoyed the “small town New England” feel to the day.

Tarla Bergman, of Easthampton, said that she loved bringing her young family to the event and that her children were looking forward to seeing the magic show that took place after the parade.

“There is nothing else like this, I mean, it is amazing,” she said. “It really is like a piece of Americana.”

Those words rang true for several international students who came from across the globe to witness this small-town event.

During the day, 19 exchange students from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Pakistan spent the day chatting with people, cheering on the parade contingents, and dancing in front of the bandstand.

As part of its program, the University of Massachusetts Civic Initiative and the Donahue Institute bring a group of students from around the world to the UMass Amherst campus, and the Chesterfield Parade is a traditional stop for the group each year.

“This is really beautiful! There is so much American culture and history here, and the cars, the music and people are all wonderful,” Nicola Aimane Dimarco of Morocco said while standing with companions Habeba Elshimy of Egypt, and Selma Bichbich of Algeria.

Sue Labrie, Chesterfield’s town administrator from 2011 to 2021, was this year’s parade marshal. Labrie is also the former Goshen fire chief and was the first woman to hold the position of fire chief in the state of Massachusetts.

Carol Jolly, who has served on the town’s Finance Committee, Parade Committee, Capital Planning Committee, Cultural Council, Planning Board, and Website Committee, was honored as Chesterfields Volunteer of the Year.

Kellogg had said that finding volunteers for the event had been a little difficult coming out of COVID-19, but that with hard work and a little magic they pulled it off.

“This whole day is run on volunteers,” said Kellogg. “I am so thankful to the people who have made this day go smoothly.”


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