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Future of Fourth of July Parade In Doubt

Nov. 13, 2013 |

Due to recent family events, future personal commitments, 2014 will be [my] last year serving as parade chairman. I’ve been a member of the Parade Committee for 30 years, served as chairman for 20 years, all of which I have greatly enjoyed, but it’s time to move on. Some information regarding the current Parade Committee – there are 10 members who plan and organize the parade serving in the following positions – chairman, publicity, participation forms (includes all mailings and preparing parade line-ups), treasurer, community and town business contacts, floats, general areas, and music coordinator. Only four members are town residents and the other six are non-residents. Seven members have served for 20 years, one for 15 and two for three years. Over the years, we have appealed for new members via press releases, ELCAT and meetings with the selectmen as there were concerns regarding an aging committee, years of service, more non-residents than residents serving and personal commitments. Unfortunately, these attempts did not produce the anticipated result of new members. Consequently, I canvassed the present committee as to their intentions on serving beyond the 2014 parade and, nine members will be resigning after the 2014 parade. Our music coordinator will be the only returning member and he is a non-resident. Another group vital to the parade are the marshals who assemble all the units on parade day. Many of these dedicated volunteers have dwindled recently resulting in logistical difficulties on parade day. We are now at a critical stage regarding the future of the parade. The Parade Committee; however, will commence its formal meetings in January 2014 meeting monthly until June when we meet two times a month. We hope that the community residents will step up and join us so we can work with them serving as mentors. All those involved in the parade have enjoyed presenting this annual event for the community. We also have appreciated the tremendous support from town residents, all town departments, businesses, civic groups, members of the private sector, participants, spectators and all who assisted behind the scene. East Longmeadow is well known for its Fourth of July events such as the carnival, concert, fireworks and parade, which would not take place without the dedicated volunteers who make it happen. In our case we have reached a stage where new volunteers must step forward and take over the reins. I have thoroughly enjoyed my involvement in this patriotic event and extend my appreciation to everyone who has helped, but especially to a truly dedicated group of people who are members of the Parade Committee and marshals. We ask that you join us planning the 2014 parade, but also realize that if volunteers do not replace members leaving, the parade as it presently exists will not take place in 2015. Anyone interested in joining the committee can call [me] at 525-2952 or the Selectmen’s Office at 525-5427. Carl F. Ohlin Chairman, Fourth of July Parade Committee East Longmeadow

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