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July Fourth parade brings out emotion, patriotism

  • Roland Giguere of The Shelburne Grange, who sponsor Cub Scout Pack 85 and the Chicken BBQ fundraiser, marinates the chicken halves in Shelburne Falls on Wednesday. July 4, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—

  • Mollie, the patriotic pooch of Lisa and Brian Morrissey, on Bridge Street for the Fourth of July Parade in Shelburne Falls on Wednesday. July 4, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Classic Cars on Bridge Street for the Fourth of July Parade in Shelburne Falls on Wednesday. July 4, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—

  • Kids hold their ears as Fire Trucks blow their horns and sirens on Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls on Wednesday. July 4, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—

  • The Shelburne Falls Military Band plays in the band stand in Shelburne Falls on Wednesday. July 4, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—

  • People enjoy the Cub Scouts Pack 85 chicken BBQ in Shelburne Falls on Wednesday. July 4, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—

  • Classic Cars on Bridge Street for the Fourth of July Parade in Shelburne Falls on Wednesday. July 4, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • The color guard leads the Fourth of July parade over the Iron Bridge in Shelburne Falls on Wednesday. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Thursday, July 05, 2018

SHELBURNE FALLS — For Shelburne resident Rolande Curtis, Independence Day has personal significance.

“Just listening as the parade goes by, I’m always trying to hold back tears,” Curtis said.

The annual July Fourth parade in Shelburne Falls had just gone by and revelers were marching off to Cub Scout Pack 85’s yearly chicken barbeque, which feeds as many as 300 people at the end of each parade. The procession featured veterans, muscle cars, the Shelburne Military Marching Band and fire departments from Shelburne, Colrain, Greenfield and other Franklin County towns.

But Curtis lagged behind, appreciating the town and what the parade meant to her while sitting at a bistro table on Bridge Street.

“This is home. It means so much to me,” she said.

Curtis stifled tears and had to break from talking more than once to wipe them away.

At the age of 15, Curtis came to the United States from New Brunswick, Canada, after her father died in a train accident. She didn’t know English, she said, and her family had no place to go.

But it was in America where she found a home and where her dreams came true.

“My first dream was to come to America. My second was to learn English,” she said. “All of my dreams came true.”

Curtis said she wants to be a part of every parade that goes through town because even though she wasn’t born here, she said, “I belong here.”

The Independence Day parade stepped off at 11:30 a.m., starting at the town center, flowing across the Iron Bridge and down Bridge Street. Those in the parade tossed candy to the hundreds of onlookers, sending children scrambling to grab what they could.

Sirens and horns blared, creating a cacophony of sounds with the marching band music.

Lisa and Brian Morrissey, who along with their Silky Terrier Mollie were dressed in patriotic regalia, came from Westfield to be at the parade.

Lisa Morrissey said they come every year, and were first drawn to it while camping in nearby Charlemont with their children many years ago.

“It just has that down home country feel without that commercialism,” she said.

Coming to the parade is also a yearly tradition for Amy and Richard Herzig of Colrain.

“I like the bands and the classic cars,” Amy Herzig said. “I have to hand it to them marching on such a hot day.”

But this year’s parade stood out against the rest.

“This was a good parade because there were no politicians,” Amy Herzig said. “That made it better than all the others.”

After the parade, Cub Scout Pack 85 provided barbeque chicken. Steve Finck, who helps organize the meal, said the barbecue has happened for more than 20 years.

This year, pack prepared 300 half-chickens, which were the basis of the meals, along with baked potatoes, drinks, rolls and coleslaw.

The meals cost $12 each, with the funds going toward the cub scout pack’s trips and activities, cubmaster and treasurer Marlene Field said. The event raises about $2,000 each year, she said.