Kids parade through Swifts Beach in decked-out bikes, scooters
Dozens of kids and their families participated in the annual Independence Day parade through the Swifts Beach neighborhood Monday morning.
Dressed up in all things red, white and blue, kids and their parents made their way around the block, starting and ending at the Swifts Beach Improvement Association’s clubhouse.
Organization president Kathleen Norris said the parade and similar neighborhood events have happened for decades. She said when her aunts were children, they too participated in the kids’ parade around the 1950’s and 1960’s.
“We never stopped,” Norris said of the parade during the pandemic. There was more social distancing during the height of the pandemic, she said, but kids still came and enjoyed the day.
Resident Eric Andrade participated in the parade with the children, though he stood several feet taller than them because of the stilts he wore during the parade. Andrade said this was his first time breaking out the stilts since the pandemic began.
Fellow residents Peter and Nancy Wheeler sat near the end of the parade with a table of water bottles and juice pouches, waiting for kids to stroll by and pick up refreshments along their way.
The parade ended with kids circling back to the neighborhood association’s clubhouse.
Christy Patalano, who’s spearheading a project to install a new playground in the neighborhood, also attended the parade. She had a poster available on a nearby picnic table for children to sign, as the “letter” will be sent to Olivia Eckman, the then-9-year-old who inspired her to start the project after the girl wrote a letter to the editor asking for an updated playground.
Patalano said that 335 fence pickets have been sold so far to go toward the playground project, though people can still reach out to have a picket personalized with their name at the playground.