MARLBOROUGH – A rainy Sept. 5 didn’t stop hearty holiday revelers from celebrating Marlborough’s 70th Labor Day Parade, preceded by Marlborough Lions Club’s longtime Bed Race.
Marchers, bands and float riders endured rain while traveling the 1.7-mile parade route. The route also served as a campaign trail for political candidates – though less than in past election years, noted parade director Melanie Whapham.
“Maybe it’s because we now have mail-in ballots and lots of people have already voted,” she said. “Maybe candidates feel there’s no need to be on the streets the day before the primary.”
Whapham feels that Navy Reservist Matt Sargent deserved to be recognized as grand marshal for his varied efforts honoring military veterans.
“Matt is a quiet member of the community,” she said. “He’s been active in the Marlborough Historical Society and active finding graves of soldiers whose markers weren’t well kept.”
Marlborough resident Steve Symes continued his tradition of marching dressed as President Abraham Lincoln since 1986. Glad that the parade returned last year after 2020’s cancelation due to pandemic restrictions, Symes wore a mask in 2021’s parade. This year, he carried an umbrella.
“It’s been quite a ride,” Symes said of his annual trek through downtown Marlborough.
Among other returning favorites were multiple units of the Aleppo Shriners based in Wilmington.
“The Shriners called me as early as February, saying, ‘We want to bring our whole contingent to Marlborough,’” Whapham recalled.
Prior to the parade, festivities began with the Marlborough Lions Club’s Bed Race. To safely race on a wet road, the 15 teams of four were instructed to power-walk rather than run to the finish line at City Hall. Most racers were high school athletes participating on behalf of business sponsors.
First-place trophies went to two teams.
The Buffet Way’s winning team participants – Ben Boi, Aidan Chillari, Caiden Porter and Dylan Repassy – were provided by the sponsor.
Waldron’s Carstar Auto Body sponsored the other winning team with Marlborough High School football players Brandon Alfaro, Miguel Borges, Jason Knollenberg and Nealon Stemple.
Race proceeds help the Lions Club’s ongoing charitable causes. Afterward, club members marched in the parade.