FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Thousands of people from all over Fairfield County lined the mile-long parade route for the annual Fairfield Memorial Day parade on Monday morning.
Residents also turned out in other towns across Fairfield County for parades and events to honor fallen soldiers.
The parade in Fairfield grows ever year, town police officers said. More groups take part in the parade, and ever-larger crowds turn out to enjoy it from the sidelines, officers said.
“It’s the perfect day for it,” said Fairfield resident Karen Smyth. She goes with her family to the parade every year. ”It’s our favorite Fairfield tradition.”
The parade is a tradition for many in Fairfield. After growing up in town, Easton resident Shawn Maurd said he just keeps coming, even after moving away.
“I’ve been coming to the parade my whole life,” Maurd said, adding that he doesn’t think that he has missed a parade in 15 years. This year, he came with a plan to have a great view of the parade: He built a grandstand to go on top of his truck.
“Two days ago my daughter asked me if we were going to build it,” Maurd said. Last year, the family sat on top of the family truck, which didn’t offer quite enough viewing power.
The grandstand wasn’t completely finished when the family came down from Easton, he said. But they fitted it to the top just as the parade began and used a footstool to climb up.
As members of the Fairfield Fire Department marched past in the parade, the firefighters cheered for the family's grandstand, clapping and laughing as they went past.
Many go to the parade to cheer on family members who are taking part. Cheering on her brother in Little League was one of 6-year-old Ivy Feay’s favorite parts. But she and twin sister Ava agreed that the canons were not their favorite.
Bands from all three Fairfield middle schools and both high schools played to the cheers of all. Veterans marching or riding in cars were greeted with loud applause and cries of thanks.
No group gained more cheers however, than the Shriners and their small cars. Many were heard shouting "It's the little cars!" as the small red cars performed their traditional, intricate moves.
The parade took the route it has used for years, starting at South Pine Creek and the Post Road, heading to Old Post Road and finishing in front of Town Hall.
But as slowly as the parade started, the streets cleared quickly as on-lookers packed up their picnics, chairs and cleared the streets for regular traffic when it came to an end.