By Anum Hussain, Globe Correspondent
More than 100 groups participated in the annual Dorchester Day Parade today, decorating the parade route along Dorchester Avenue with a myriad of colors.
Members of the Dorchester Food Coop wore fruit and vegetable costumes, while Simon Escobar, 20, wore a Scooby Doo outfit, and students from Tech Boston Lower Academy wore their JROTC uniforms.
“I came because, first of all, it’s part of my grade,” said 15-year-old Prisca Limage. “But I’m also doing it for my school, to show we’re good too.”
Members of the Boston Public Schools all-city marching band adorned themselves in matching navy blue shirts as they played Bruce Pearson’s ‘Royal Crown March’ along the 3.2 mile route for what they expected would be the last time.
Music teacher Ian Glaude said his school, housed out of Hyde Park Education Complex, is scheduled for shutdown. Still, his team marched with enthusiasm together after learning to play their instruments a mere six months ago.
Locals of all ages found themselves outside under sunny skies and in an exuberant mood.
“Everybody got out and did their thing,” said 18-year-old Isaiah Speed, who marched unofficially with his friends. “It made it fun for the whole neighborhood.”
President of the Dorchester Day Parade Committee, Gretchen Carney, said this year's parade was even bigger than years past because there are ten city council candidates vying for a seat that will be vacated by Maureen Feeney, who has said she will not run for re-election.
At around 3:30 p.m., the candidates made their way to the end of the route at the intersection of Columbia Road.
Michael Flaherty greeted those seated along the route and kissed an elderly woman on the cheek.
“It’s a great crowd from start to finish, celebrating the great community that Dorchester is, and will continue to be,” he said while waving to residents.
Candidate John O’ Toole, who says his kids are fourth-generation Dorchester residents, was happy with the fantastic weather and turnout.
“The diversity of Dorchester always shows, it’s just a wonderful spectrum of different colors,” he said. “[The parade] allows us to represent the values and best kept secrets of Dorchester, and showcase them to the city.”
This year's parade held a special surprise for Carney, the event president, as her boyfriend, Ed Geary Jr., proposed to her along the route with a banner reading 'Gretchen, will you marry me? Love, Ed.'
"Talk about a year you'll never forget," Carney said after the parade finished around 5:30 p.m. "He sets up the whole parade, and we live together, so he had to sneak around to get this accomplished. It was a big year for us."
The event, which celebrates the founding of the neighborhood 400 years ago, kicked off at 1 p.m. with the Boston Fire Department leading the way.
"Basically this is all to celebrate the founding of Dorchester in 1620 when the Puritans first landed on Savin Hill Beach," Carney said.
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