Marlborough announces Labor Day Parade grand marshals

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By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor

Marlborough Public Health Director John Garside thanks Mayor Arthur Vigeant during a press conference on July 29. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – Representatives of the Marlborough Board of Health and UMass/Marlborough Hospital will lead the city’s 2021 Labor Day Parade as it returns following a COVID-19 hiatus later this year. 

Mayor Arthur Vigeant and Parade Director Melanie Whapham announced the news at a press conference on July 29. 

“I’m very appreciative of the grand marshals that the city has chosen,” Whapham said. “…It’s a good decision for what we have been through this year.”

Board of Health, Marlborough Hospital celebrate collaboration

The honor, indeed, goes to teams of individuals that have been heralded for their work on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic over the last 16 months.

The Board of Health and Marlborough Hospital have also specifically worked together, partnering on testing initiatives before also collaborating on the local vaccine rollout.

“Really, I don’t know what we would do without you folks,” Health Director John Garside told hospital representatives, July 29. 

Marlborough Hospital President Steve Roach reciprocated Garside’s praise. 

“Working with the Board of Health really made the process go smoothly,” he said. “It really made sure that those vulnerable populations in the community were served for the vaccine, as well as testing.”

Vigeant shared his thanks for both the Board of Health and Marlborough Hospital, citing frequent phone calls and meetings at the height of the pandemic’s several surges in case numbers.

“They’re with us every day, from daily phone calls at the beginning to weekly phone calls as we started weaning off,” he said of the hospital. “Now, we do regular phone calls as needed.”

“They were there for all the testing,” he continued. “They were there for all the vaccines. They’re always there for the City of Marlborough.”

Officials thank other city agencies involved in pandemic response

Garside, Roach and Vigeant also spotlighted the work of others, particularly in city government. 

The Department of Public Works has aided in signage efforts, Garside said. School administrators and nursing staff have worked with the city as well, coordinating reopenings and lending a hand in conducting tasks such as contact tracing. 

“It takes a village,” Garside said.

Parade planning continues

Celebrating its grand marshals, Marlborough is now gearing up for the Labor Day parade itself.

The event is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 6, returning after its cancellation a year ago. 

The response and excitement from the community is already palpable, according to Whapam. 

“I’m looking forward to a great Labor Day parade,” she said.