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Jefferson brings the parade to the people

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter

The line up crew for the Jefferson Fourth of July Parade prepares for take off on Saturday. L-R Joe Marshall, Skip Marshall, Yvan Guay and Joe Velie. (Missing from the line up crew photo is Cindy Silver, Jefferson Selectwoman.) (click for larger version)
July 09, 2020
JEFFERSON — On July 4, the town of Jefferson reversed tradition and instead of the people coming to the parade, the parade went to the people. An 18-mile route that hit every section of town, to include the Highlands, the Meadows, Riverton, Starr King, Baileys and the Hill was well received by residents.

Fire Chief Chris Milligan said, "Joe Marshall did an amazing job organizing this event. He pulled it all together with the help of others."

On scene at the event was New England Traffic Control who took care of directing traffic at the larger intersections.

Milligan said, "I was doing traffic detail and when guys got back everyone said how well received it was all over the route. People were really appreciative of the fact that the town went the extra mile to celebrate."

Residents along the route could be seen holding signs in mutual celebration.

Marshall who spearheaded the event, explained how it came to be.

"The Select Board had to make a decision for the July 4 events and ultimately decided to cancel it. I guess then they got to thinking that it would be really nice to do something," Marshall said.

"We weren't able to hit every road but it was still a lot of fun. We had about 32 vehicles lined up and drove about ten miles under the speed limit," said Marshall.

It was the longest route the town has ever seen, but the fastest.

"We didn't want to get too crazy with it. Chris and I chose the safest route and went from there," said Marshall.

The parade took roughly three weeks to plan.

Marshall said, "There was a lot of energy and excitement out there. Even the drivers enjoyed seeing the parade from their point of view, and really appreciated the feeling of community that we still share."

Marshall ended by saying, "It reminded us that during this time, we have to stick together, and we are still a community."

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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