A Parade Makes The Celebration Complete
By: Christopher Kazarian
By 9:30 AM on Wednesday morning the line of men, women, children and dogs donning red, white and blue paraphernalia stretched from the driveway of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Main Street, over a quarter-mile back into the parking lot.
On this day the contingent of hundreds would not be undone by the overcast skies and infrequent rain drops that eventually gave way to sunshine. They instead displayed their patriotism, not only through their clothing, but their bicycles, scooters, baby carriages and wooden wagons, which were festooned with balloons, streamers and tinsel.
They were all taking part in the July 4th Bike and Carriage Parade, an annual event that welcomes residents and tourists to walk down Main Street and celebrate the country’s independence.
As he has since 2008, Michael D. Kasparian of Teneycke Hill Road, North Falmouth, played the role of Uncle Sam, sporting red and white striped pants, a blue coat and a faux beard and top hat, leading participants along with his two daughters, Phoebe, a 6th grader at St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School in Hyannis, and Sophia, a 4th grader at the North Falmouth Elementary School, as they marched down Main Street, toward the Mullen-Hall Elementary School.
The event, run by the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Falmouth Village Association, has a decidedly younger tilt, with children the feature attraction. “I love it,” Mr. Kasparian said. “It is a lot of fun.”
That was perhaps best epitomized by George L. Sykes of King Street, Falmouth, who rode his unicycle in the parade. As he made his way toward the line of participants, he encouraged others to try out that mode of transportation. “You want to ride it?” he asked, looking down at a wide-eyed Olivia Cosgrove, 8, as her mother, Patricia A. Cosgrove, manager of the Falmouth Village Association looked on. “We wouldn’t know how to step up onto that,” Ms. Cosgrove laughed.
As to what makes the parade special, Ms. Cosgrove said, “It is a family event,” witnessed by her and her daughter, sporting matching T-shirts with an American flag on them, holding the Falmouth Village Association banner in the parade’s lead.
This is not something you would ever see in Arizona... This is a change of pace for us. There is no sense of community in Scottsdale like this.
There were some, like Lexie Ravech, 9, who was a pro at the nuances of the event. “She’s been doing it ever since she could ride a bike. Right, Lexie?” her father Bruce Ravech said, with his wife, Beth, by his side.
The best part, Lexie said, is decorating her bicycle, followed closely by the Popsicles that have been given in years past. Her strategy, she said, was slow and steady. “I have to ride slow,” she said. “We were told last year to ride slow because there were young kids in front of me.”
On the flip side of the experience coin was newcomer Max McCavitt, 6, who sat quietly on his bicycle, which was connected to his father’s bike. His father, Colin McCavitt, did the bulk of the peddling work. He and his wife, Sara, saw the parade last year while visiting from Scottsdale, Arizona. “It looked really fun and since then Max has really wanted to do it,” Mr. McCavitt said.
“This is not something you would ever see in Arizona,” Ms. McCavitt said. “This is a change of pace for us. There is no sense of community in Scottsdale like this.”
Just seconds before the parade was to begin S. Adam Soule of East Falmouth, pulled his daughter, Elise, 3, and her “best buddy” Idahlia Brown, 3, in circles around the church parking lot as they sat quietly in a radio flyer wagon. “I’m just getting them warmed up,” Mr. Soule explained. “I hope they’ll stay awake for the parade. Last year Elise fell asleep.”
At least for the start, she was all smiles as her father prompted her with the proper parade protocol. “Look over there,” he said as they walked passed onlookers in front of Board Stiff on Main Street. “Wave to them, honey.”
For about 30 seconds Lindsey Fratotillo of Weymouth, held a handle connected to the back of her two-year-old daughter Gwen’s tricycle before giving up, handing the reigns to her husband, Thomas. As he pushed, she spoke to what makes the event unique: “You get to cross over from the sidelines and practice your parade-participating skills,” she said.
That meant repeatedly honking the horn on his bicycle, replete with training wheels, for 4-year-old James DeMello, as his grandfather Anthony W. DeMello of Johnson Street, Falmouth Heights, walked alongside him.
The event allowed three generations of the Lopes family—Richard F., his son Michael and his 8-year-old grandson Tom—to ride their bicycles, three aside, down Main Street. Of the trio it was Richard Lopes who generated the most interest with his 80-year-old beach bicycle with a slight rust to it. “I think we’re really fortunate we have got a great little town,” Richard Lopes said.
Like all participants their destination was the Mullen-Hall School where the Falmouth Elks were handing out free bicycle helmets and raffling off four bicycles that eventually went to Erin Diskin, 11 of Falmouth; Rachel Brill, 9, of Arlington, Virginia; Cadence Tai, 9, of Millis; and Cooper Hammond, 5, of East Falmouth.
Before they were raffled off Peter J. Doherty of East Falmouth, stood guard over the bicycles thanks to his pedigree as a former professional wrestler who competed under the moniker “The Duke of Dorchester.” “I had a couple of 6 year olds who looked like they were going to give me trouble,” he laughed. “Anything 6 and under I can handle. Anything over that is a whole other story.”
Joking aside, he marveled at the crowd which he said only seems to grow each year.
As to why, Sarah and Patrick Donato of Framingham returned to the children, one of which included their son Jackson, 5, who was taking part in his fifth parade—this one the first on a bicycle without training wheels. “It is so fun to see the kids get all excited,” Ms. Donato said. “It just gives them so many amazing memories of the 4th of July.”
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