Despite the uncertainty over the weather, the Dedham Flag Day parade is on as scheduled this evening.
Parade director Anthony “JuJu” Mucciaccio announced Friday morning that the parade will continue as planned at 6 p.m.
“There are 20 bands in the parade, about 25 floats in the parade, and I would say over 1,000 people marching,” Mucciaccio said.
While residents will likely see the bands and floats they have become used to over the 47 years the parade has continued in town, there will be two distinct changes.
Rather than start at Dedham Square as the parade usually does, the parade will begin on East Street, as renovations to Dedham Square make set up at that location difficult.
Residents will also be altering a tradition from the beginning of the parade – candy may only be thrown from people walking in the parade, not by people on floats.
“Kids were running up to the street and somebody is going to get hit,” Mucciaccio said.
Both the parade and the tradition of throwing candy originated in 1967 to support the troops in Vietnam. Veterans groups still march in the parade, and several honor guard units fire gun salutes at Oakdale Square, where there is a veterans monument.
The parade route begins on East Street beside Dedham Middle School, proceeds down East Street, and turns left on High Street and through Dedham Square. The parade turns right at Washington Street and then Harris Street. Marching along High Street into East Dedham, the parade turns south at Walnut Street, down to Oakdale Square and then swoops down hitting Oakdale Avenue, Sanderson Avenue, Mount Vernon Street, and across Whiting Avenue to return to its starting place.
“It’s gotten bigger every year, but it costs more, too,” Mucciaccio said, adding that this year’s price tag is $35,000.
Most residents come out to celebrate Flag Day rather than July 4th – “This is our 4th of July,” Mucciaccio said.
For the 50th parade, which will take place in 2017, Mucciaccio plans to have fireworks.