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Blowing their horns

Loud, proud Bruins’ fans express joy with vuvuzelas

Alex Merloni, 5, from North Grafton celebrated loudly with his father, Gregg, as the Bruins’ rolling rally moved along Boylston Street yesterday. Alex Merloni, 5, from North Grafton celebrated loudly with his father, Gregg, as the Bruins’ rolling rally moved along Boylston Street yesterday. (John Tlumacki/ Globe Staff)
By Vivian Yee
Globe Correspondent / June 19, 2011

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At the Bruins championship parade yesterday, the fans with the best hope of catching left winger Milan Lucic’s eye didn’t wear his jersey or wave a big flag.

They blew vuvuzelas — early, often, and as hard as possible.

Rebecca Zarrow, 19, and her friend Jessie Richissin, 18, both from Reading, swooned when they saw Lucic turn, walk across his Duck Boat, and wave at them. Though Zarrow was also wearing a Lucic jersey, she credited their black vuvuzela with their success.

“It was the horn,’’ she said. “And we got winked at by Andrew Ference because the horn attracted him.’’

A few dozen black-and-yellow clad fans standing near the Public Garden along the parade route blared vuvuzelas, the long plastic horns that first gained fame for their ear-splitting blasts at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Buying horns from vendors on the Boston Common for $8 to $10 or bringing them from home, vuvuzela owners big and small competed to produce the longest, loudest din.

“We wanted to be loud,’’ 24-year-old Kevin Hagerty said between puffs on his black vuvuzela, bought yesterday for $10 from a street vendor.

While aware of the international fame the horn garnered during soccer matches, Hagerty said he paid homage to only one sport: hockey.

“It had nothing to do with soccer; I’m a big fan of the Bruins,’’ he said before strutting triumphantly through Downtown Crossing, blowing his horn.

Children tooted them atop their parents’ shoulders. Teenagers held escalating noise contests with vuvuzela owners across Tremont Street.

“We beat everyone,’’ Richissin pronounced proudly. “It was like the playoffs. We gave the vuvuzela to whoever could blow it the loudest.’’

The ubiquitous horns have been a feature of at least one past Boston championship parade — the 2008 Celtics rally. That was where Ryan Reale, 19, of Braintree, bought his bright green vuvuzela.

For yesterday’s parade, he had spray painted the horn gold, though patches of green lingered.

“The vuvuzelas get obnoxious, so it’s the easiest way to make noise,’’ Reale said, letting one of his friends blast the horn.

Another friend, Nick Alves, 15, also from Braintree, proclaimed: “It’s the greatest invention known to man.’’

Richissin will be keeping hers in her room, she said, and taking it to every event she can. “It was the best $10 I ever spent.’’

John Santaniello, 8, of Wilbraham, was still clutching his blue $8 horn after the parade. “He can’t blow it in the house, but maybe outside,’’ said his father, Tony, 43.

Akilah Johnson of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Vivian Yee can be reached at vyee@globe.com.

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