It's not the number of parades that counts in Braintree -- it's the size. Located a short distance from the city of Boston, Braintree, Massachusetts, holds one large parade every year to celebrate the Fourth of July. Featuring marching bands, patriotic floats and veterans tributes, the annual Braintree Starts and Stripes Parade finds its way to a large carnival hosted on the local high school grounds. Nearby Boston also has a number of parades throughout the year.
The annual Braintree Stars and Stripes Parade is held every year on the weekend before Independence Day. The parade features more than 10 musical acts, including marching bands and pipe bands. Although the lineup changes every year, previous contributors to the parade include the USS Constitution Navy Color Guard, London's Green Hackle Pipe Band and local high school marching bands. Additionally, the parade has featured floats and marchers, including the Braintree mayor, various Braintree veterans groups, the Hallamore Clydesdales and several floats for local causes. The grand marshal of the parade is selected every year and is typically a Braintree resident who has served in foreign wars.
The parade begins at 11:45 a.m. and kicks off from the Hollis School in central Braintree. From there, it winds south down Washington Street before turning right onto Franklin Avenue and proceeding to its terminus at Braintree High School. The parade route is approximately two miles long and takes about two hours to complete. Observers along the parade route typically number between one and 1,000.
Festival and Flea Market
At the parade's end at Braintree High School, there is a festival and open-air flea market. Entertainment and vendors change from year to year, but in the past the flea market has included vendors with more than 80 tables. In addition, there are often musical performances, including drum and bugle corps salutes to veterans, local disc jockeys and tribute bands. A kids' festival at the high school is also included in the events and features carnival rides and games. Observers of the parade enjoy the festivities until darkness falls, when the Independence Day fireworks are set off within prime viewing distance of the high school and carnival.
As Braintree is approximately 13 miles south of the city of Boston, residents have access to a number of parades held within the larger city. For instance, the Saint Patrick's Day Parade is a large event in Boston. Beginning at the Broadway "T" Station and heading toward Andrews Square in the largely Irish neighborhood of south Boston, this parade features colorful floats, marching bands and pipe bands celebrating Irish pride. Additional parades in nearby Boston include the Gay Pride Parade, the Independence Day Parade and numerous smaller community parades held in Boston's diverse neighborhoods.
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