June 28, 2022 By Carol Britton Meyer
The Fourth of July holiday weekend is just around the corner!
Although the Harborworks celebration featuring spectacular fireworks and family activities that was planned for July 1 was postponed until Fall due to the presence of protected wildlife on Button Island -- the longtime launching site -- there's lots of fun in store.
"We're closing in on the 4th of July, which is less than one week away!" Fourth of July Parade Committee Chair Jim Murphy told the Hingham Anchor. "This year has been a bit more 'normal' than the last two years -- but still a bit strange as most of our regular bands are getting into the swing of things. Some are still trying to get back to pre-pandemic size and skill levels."
The Fourth of July holiday will start off with the 4.47-mile Hingham Rec Road Race down historic Main Street, heading out from Hingham Middle School at 7 a.m. and ending under the huge American flag in downtown Hingham -- followed by an awards ceremony for the top finishers. This is one of the region's oldest footraces.
The Lions/Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast on Hingham Centre Common beginning around 7:30 a.m. is sure to be a crowd-pleaser as always. It's a good idea to get there early to avoid long lines!
The culmination of this fun-filled celebration is the traditional Fourth of July Parade -- stepping out from Hingham High School at 10 a.m. -- featuring marching bands, colorful floats, antique cars, and much more. The parade follows the painted red, white, and blue center stripe down Main Street to Hingham Square. Longtime Hingham resident Linda Kutsch is this year's grand marshal.
The 2022 parade theme is "History Happens Here," a salute to Hingham's roots and traditions harking back more than 350 years.
Thousands of spectators -- many decked out in red, white, and blue clothing, waving American flags, and wearing parade buttons -- normally line the route to enjoy this traditional event that is like no other and to wave to Uncle Sam and participating family members and friends as they ride or walk by.
Fourth of July Parade Committee member and lifetime resident George Ford will be leading the event as "Uncle Sam" for the 15th time this year.
"I believe I have eclipsed most of the other 'Uncle Sams' in longevity, except Frannie Wright [who marched as Uncle Sam] from the late 1940s until the late 1970s," Ford told the Hingham Anchor. "I will never catch up with him!"
As a member of the parade committee, Ford books the performers, which include marching bands and other attractions. This year's event with feature the 7th Regiment from Connecticut -- a very large drum and bugle corps, returning after a two-year hiatus; a team of six Clydesdales pulling a wagon as part of the Special Needs Athletic Partnership float sponsored by Parade Committee member Tom Hoffman; the National Lancers, who ride their horses in unison; and four bagpipe bands.
St John's Church float will be promote their fundraising event for Halloween, with Captain Jack Sparrow making an appearance.
"As with most folks, I am pleased that the parade will go off without restrictions and masks this year," Ford said.
One of his favorite memories as Uncle Sam is of being offered a libation in Waterford crystal at the Eldredge home at the bottom of Pear Tree Hill. "The late Dr. Eldredge always made sure one was available for Uncle Sam, and his daughter, Lizzie, and her brother reinstated that tradition some time ago," Ford said.
People come from near and far to view the parade, including many former Hingham residents, who return to Hingham year after year to experience all the fun and excitement.
The parade will be held rain or shine. However, in the event of a storm, the Hingham Police Department may call off the parade.
The Fourth of July Parade is funded mainly through the generosity of corporate sponsors, the 50 Flags Campaign, parade button sales, and donations. All funds go to the parade, which costs about $55,000 a year to put on, including all related expenses. No tax money is used.
The 50 Flags campaign is spearheaded by Hoffman and Erin McGourty. The sale of parade buttons by Hingham businesses and others is a major fundraiser. The Hingham Rotary Club plays a key role in selling the buttons, both before the event and along the parade route.
Murphy noted that one thing seems to be consistent across the board among the more than a dozen paid performers. "They are all increasing their fees. A few groups that were 'free' earlier are now asking for payments for their appearance in the parade," he said.
The Parade Committee "is very grateful for the annual support for the Fourth of July Parade from our sponsors [and others]," Murphy said.
AW Perry is once again the lead parade sponsor. "They are known as our longest and strongest supporter," according to Murphy.
Phifer Pinkham LLC, Dunkin' Donuts on Lincoln Street, and Hingham Institution for Savings are new parade sponsors this year, along with Talbots, Falconeiri Construction, and Bolt Depot.
Regular parade sponsors include the Fruit Center, Raffael's, The Greenside Grille, Hingham Rotary Club, Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant, the Bristol companies, McCusker-Gill, South Shore Country Club, Richardson Insurance, and Tracey Environmental Consulting LLC.
For more information about the 2022 Fourth of July celebration, including the fireworks, road race, parade history, and sponsorships, or to make a donation, visit www.hinghamjuly4th.org or email Hingham4th@gmail.com.
Happy Fourth of July!!
Hingham Anchor Guide: Here's what's happening on the Fourth of July!
Monday, July 4
- 7 a.m. - Hingham Recreation Road Race starts from Hingham Middle School, 1103 Main St. The 4.47-mile, runner-friendly course ends in downtown Hingham, followed by an awards ceremony.
- 7:30 a.m. until the beginning of the parade – The traditional Lions/Kiwanis Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast at Hingham Centre Common is a real family-pleaser, featuring pancakes, sausages, coffee, and orange juice. Cost: $7, adults; children, $3; and $25 for a family. All proceeds benefit Club activities and efforts.
- 10 a.m. - The Fourth of July Parade steps out from Hingham High School, featuring marching bands, colorful floats, antique cars, and much more.(See www.hinghamjuly4th.org for full details.)