Story & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb002

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and U, S, Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and U, S, Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman joined the 28th annual Boom Box Parade in Windham (Willimantic), Connecticut earlier today. The parade started promptly at 11 a.m. at Jillson Square then made its way along Main Street about a mile and a half to Memorial Park. Wearing her signature high heels -this pair in bright red – and with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal at her side, Wyman smiled and waved to the crowds that lined both sides of the street.

The Boom Box Parade story is well-known and told on the WILI website. In 1986 no marching bands could be found for Windham’s Memorial Day Parade. Five weeks later the idea for a Boom Box Parade was put forth. The first Boom Box Parade ended up capturing headlines near and far. The local radio station, WILI, played patriotic marching tunes and parade participants and watchers turned out carrying their radios, also known as boom boxes, tuned to the local station.

The idea caught on and has become an annual Fourth of July tradition drawing spectators from all over. Anyone can march so long as they wear red, white and blue and bring along a radio tuned to WILI. Each year the parade is led by WILI’s Wayne Norman.003

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Crossing the Delaware

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American Legion Post 19.

With this year’s parade featuring a float depicting George Washington crossing the Delaware, and, a group which marched in honor of Nathan Hale, Connecticut’s state hero, America’s earliest patriots were well represented on this – America’s Independence Day. Also, representing today’s service members were the American Legion and disabled veterans.

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Victorian Neighborhood Association.

Among the parade floats were ones by Eastern Connecticut State University, which is located in Willimantic, the Mansfield Academy of Dance and a float carrying a group of young baseball players who chanted “We are the All-Stars, mighty, mighty All-Stars.” There were vintage vehicles, such as an American Ambulance from 1916. Various groups marched including the Victorian Neighborhood Association and one carrying signs that read “USA Nation of ¬†Immigrants” and “Embracing the Same Dream.”014

Mansfield Academy of Dasnce.

Mansfield Academy of Dance.

"We are the All Stars, mighty, mighty All Stars."

“We are the All Stars, mighty, mighty All Stars.”

006In the spirit of the nation another group marched for a cause – this one being to “Save the Frogs”

Frog Bridge

Frog Bridge

(savethefrogs.com) – yes -really. It seems frogs are disappearing and are among 2,000 amphibian species threatened with extinction, according to literature distributed by the activists. What better place to call attention to the “Save the Frog” movement than Windham which has it’s very own frog bridge and frog statues throughout the town.

The one hour parade took place under sunny skies.The accompanying heat and humidity did not seem to bother anyone.026

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Wrapping up the parade – a long row of firetrucks.

Happy Fourth of July!