The Edgartown 4th of July Parade – a Vineyard Tradition

Edgartown 4th Of July Parade Martha's VineyardNow that the 4th of July holiday is here, Summer is in full swing on the Vineyard, and people are ready to celebrate.  When talking to people about what they do to commemorate the holiday, there are two answers, barbecue or parade.  Some of us go to the parade religiously, and some stay as far away as possible, so as to avoid the crowds of people.

Edgartown 4th of July Parade Classic Cars Floats July 4th Parade Martha's VineyardLet’s talk about the parade.  I love to go to the Edgartown 4th of July parade.  Yes, there are tons of people and it’s usually very hot out, both of which can make it a little uncomfortable. But it is a slice of Americana, and I love it.

There is something so special about how local it is.  There are no fancy bells and whistles — just the people that make this Island so great, but this day, they’re in cool classic cars or in fun, homemade floats.

There are kids a plenty, and animals, and Island notables, and so much more.  It’s fun to see the marching bands, Camp Jabberwocky, the dancers, and of course the fire trucks!  You can’t help but smile as the floats pass by filled with happy people, and how the people watching the parade are just has enamored with the event.

The Edgartown Lighthouse & Wooden Nickel From The Harbor View Hotel Martha's VineyardI like to see what the YMCA float will be each year, and the Farm Institute is a favorite as well.  Kids and animals are always a hit.  I wonder if Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl will make an appearance and what will the new favorite be this year?

I bet the Harbor View’s Edgartown Lighthouse and Wooden Nickel from the 2011 Christmas in Edgartown Parade makes an appearance.  Each float in the parade is special and quirky.

I love that people in the parade still throw candy.  I know we’re not supposed to, but it’s part of what makes the parade so fun for kids of all ages.  One of my fondest memories was when I was in the parade years ago for Plum TV, and I threw (gently of course) a piece of candy at an older gentleman dressed to the nines in his Nantucket Red pants and white shirt complete with bow tie.  I had singled him out intentionally because he had looked so stuffy, but much to my surprise he reached and caught the candy and started giggling!  It was at that moment that I realized that this 4th of July parade was pretty special.

For many people, they’ve waited a whole year for this event, and there is a strategy behind getting ready for the 4th of July parade.  What time to leave, where to park, what to bring for the kiddies, where to sit, and of course what to wear.  People really make it an all day affair.  The parade begins at 5 pm and you can see spots staked out early in the day.

Edgartown 4th of July Parade FashionLet ‘s talk parade fashion.  Even though many won’t admit it, there is a lot of coordinating red, white, and blue outfits lining the streets of Edgartown during the parade.  I am one of those people.  Yes it’s sort of cheesy, but I love it.

I’ve got my family’s outfits ready to go from the three-month-old to the 38-year-old, we’re ready for that quintessential Vineyard 4th of July photo.

Island Spirit At The 4th Of July Parade In EdgartownWhere you sit has a big impact on how you enjoy the parade.  If you’re close to the Edgartown School, you’re guaranteed to get a lot of loot from the parade participants.  They’re just starting and the kids on the floats (and some adults too) are itching to throw that candy.

However, you miss the fun of the big crowds of downtown, but if you’re downtown and past the Entertainment Cinemas, chances are you may not  get any goodies.  So, if candy is part of your plan, where you sit is crucial.

I usually mix it up each year, but now I have to be extra careful in my planning, since I have two little ones.  This year we’re lucky enough to sit with friends at their place, and I’ll be able to worry a little less about my 2-year- old Charly running down the street.

No matter where you sit, what you wear, or what food delicacies are made, it’s really about spending time with your friends and your family, and celebrating Summer with a Vineyard tradition that honors our amazing country and those who helped us gain our independence.  Wishing you a wonderful, memorable 4th of July and the best Summer ever!


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