Located just outside Boston, the town of Weymouth doesn't host a Columbus Day Parade of its own. Weymouth residents, however, often take part in the biennial East Boston Columbus Day Parade, which has run for more than 60 years. And, even if residents don't take part, many come to watch the parade, which begins in East Boston less than 15 miles from the center of Weymouth.
Organizers have held the East Boston Columbus Day Parade every other year since 1946. In the early 21st century, organizers and participants celebrate the history and tradition surrounding the parade. The parade also celebrates the United States and all veterans and fallen soldiers that have defended the nation. It typically takes place in early October, running sometime in the afternoon from East Boston -- about a 30-minute drive from Weymouth -- to the North End of Boston. The support of local community members, organizations and volunteers helps to sustain the parade.
Any person is welcome to attend the parade, particularly those in Boston and in surrounding towns like Weymouth. Typically, community organizations, public employees, volunteers, and schools participate in the parade. Though the specific floats and groups taking part vary each year, participants can expect to see high school marching bands, colorfully decorated floats, and color guards marching throughout the parade. Onlookers can also expect military personnel and plenty of patriotic themes.
An increasingly visible part of East Boston's Columbus Day Parade, politics have become an event staple. Local politicians use the parade as a tool to reach the voters, and politicking may be particularly heavy given the Columbus Day Parade's close proximity to election day. While many onlookers have grown jaded with the onslaught of campaigning during the parade, this may have more to do with the candidates themselves rather than with their campaigning method of choice.
Despite its longevity and success in the greater Boston area, the Columbus Day Parade is still a major expense for the city, costing about $80,000 each year. Thus, parade organizers have thought up some creative ways to raise funds over the years. One 2010 event aimed at raising money for the parade included mock arrests by the Suffolk County Sheriffs and Boston Police Departments. Residents could pay $20 for a warrant to "arrest" a particularly helpful member of the community, all in good fun and only for a few hours. Another fundraising event in 2010 included selling $45 tickets for dinner and night full of stand-up comedy and music.
- Town of Weymouth: Welcome to Weymouth Massachusetts
- The North Shore: Planning for 2010 East Boston Columbus Day Parade Underway; Takes a Comedic Turn
- East Boston News: East Boston Columbus Day Parade Committee Jail Day 2010; 08 September 2010
- Boston.com: Columbus Day Parade Scenes
- YouTube: Columbus Day Parade, East Boston, October 10, 2010
- Boston.com: Criticism Rains Down on Parading Politicians; Stephanie Ebbert, 11 October, 2010
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