Merrimack’s Independence Day parade ages but it never gets oldBy KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader July 04. 2018 8:38PM
MERRIMACK - The Independence Day parade in this large town never gets old and seems to gain in popularity as it ages, according to many of its passionate local watchers.
“I’ve been coming to this all 44 years I’ve lived in Merrimack,” said John Kocsis. “We live on the other side of town from the parade route over by Route 101A and we come over here good and early to see it.
“This parade is a great one, local groups, lots of kids, so much enthusiasm, love it so much.”
The annual, 1.5-mile trek by dozens of parade group participants so dominates the town it can become impossible to escape it.
“I tried to drive around the route and warned my husband at home about it but then I got stuck inside and decided to watch it for a while,” said Nicole Fluet while her young son was asleep in their car.
So she stayed around long enough to watch her babysitter walk the route as a member of the Merrimack High School robotics team.
The sweltering heat failed to dampen the crowds as thousands of parade viewers lined the route that began at the Commons Shopping Plaza (Tractor Supply) traveled south down Daniel Webster Highway and took a right onto Baboosic Lake Road and traveled past Mastricola School and then took a final left to finish at Merrimack High School.
The parade is a public/private collaboration between the town, the Rotary Club of Merrimack and the Road Runners Booster Club.
The lineup included nine different sections that stretched out on their own to be more than a mile in length.
Some of the crowd favorites included the New Hampshire Police Association Pipe and Drum, Bektash Shrine Center Clown Unit and its Mini Monster Trucks, the Ancient Order of Hibernians Pipes and Drums, the Spartans Drum & Bugle Corps and Muchachos Drum & Bugle Corps.
A special performance was from the tribute band, Blues Brothers, the Next Generation, which came courtesy of the Merrimack Public Library, which recently celebrated its 125th anniversary this year.
More than 30 volunteers wore the black suits and hats of the Blues Brothers to march behind the band.
“We’ve got so many great volunteers, this library has a lot of support in the community and we so appreciate it,” said Merrimack Public Library director Yvette Couser. “We felt this was the right way to mark this occasion since our theme this year is librarians rock.”
And with this being an election year, there were plenty of candidate entries with many running for Congress, governor and even state legislative seats all bringing their own marchers.
“You just can’t beat this,” summed up Jack Tiano of Merrimack while his five kids lunged for the candy being handed out by clowns and laughed as they got squirted with cool water by parade officials riding in pickup trucks.
“My kids all love the music, the images, the patriotism. We wouldn’t miss this.”