By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough- With this year's theme of “Volunteers in Service,” the 61st annual Marlborough Labor Day Parade will be led by an organization as grand marshals: the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #3565.
Mayor Arthur Vigeant made the announcement Aug. 22 at City Hall in a conference room full of Eagles members.
“It was an easy decision for me to decide to call you guys and recognize you to ride in our lead car this year,” Vigeant told the members. “I really appreciate all you'se done for the city of Marlborough over the years.”
Reading a proclamation, Vigeant said, “This past year, the Marlborough Eagles” checks for charity totaled $50,000.”
The proclamation also mentioned the organization's popular holiday celebration for children.
“In 1990, the Aerie #3565 started the annual Easter Egg Hunt providing 6,000 hidden, candy-filled eggs for the children of Marlborough, and it has grown to over 20,000 eggs that were not so easy to hide these days,” he said.
Turning his attention from the written proclamation to the auxiliary members, he added,
“I want to thank all you women because I know you stuffed those.”
Serving the community since 1974, the Marlborough Eagles have supported various events such as the Marlborough Hospital's “Safe Summer Fun Day.” Participating in the Adopt-A-Highway program, its members volunteer to clean the Route 290 Extension in Hudson and Marlborough. They regularly offer dinners for participants in the Greater Marlborough Programs Inc., a nonprofit agency that helps people with developmental disabilities.
For over 20 years, the Marlborough Eagles have sponsored Cub Scout Pack 31. They'se also sponsored several youth sports programs over the years, most recently Marlborough Youth Lacrosse. Their scholarship program has presented over $100,000 to high school graduates.
For the fourth year, the Marlborough Eagles will present “Rock and Stroll,” to be held Saturday, Oct. 13, 10 a.m., at Ward Park. The five-hour walkathon will benefit four cancer charities.
Parade Director Ed Thurber said their members and other organizations of volunteers will ride floats, including the Lions Club, the Rotary Club and Kick's Cancer.
“I don's want any of the other philanthropic organizations in the city to feel slighted; the Eagles are representing them all,” Thurber said. “There's no one group that is more dedicated than any other group. They'se all working equally as hard as they can to make the quality of life good for everybody in the city and around the world. We appreciate all volunteers.”
Volunteers will also work behind the scenes that day, Thurber noted.
“I'se got 25 to 30 volunteers now and I's training new people,” he said. “I have a lot of people who come back year after year to help.”
Twenty-two Marlborough High School cheerleaders will help carry banners.
Following its traditional route, the parade will be held Monday, Sept. 3, starting at noon.
This year's parade will feature 135 marching units and many political candidates are expected to march, including incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren.
Among the returning favorites will be the Clydesdales horses, and the Shriners” clowns and fire brigade. New this year will be the UMass Lowell Marching Band.
The major corporate donors are Raytheon with $5,000, and Woodward & Curran with $4,000.
“We'se looking forward to having a wonderful parade this year,” Thurber said.
Spectators wishing to claim a prime spot can arrive at 9 a.m. for the Lions Club's annual Bed Race onMain Street. Businesses, organizations and community leaders will sponsor teams of four runners pushing hospital beds to the finish line at City Hall. Proceeds go to the club's ongoing charitable endeavors.