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Hingham Massachusetts, Incorporated 1635, History & Pride
 

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Committees: Fourth of July Parade Committee

Fourth of July Parade Committee

It is the responsibility of the July 4th Parade Committee to plan, organize and raise funds for the annual Independence Day Parade, as well as the Band Concert by The Satuit Band at the Harbor.  The floats, marchers, and bands are provided by different organizations.  The fundraisers pay for the marching bands as well as the historic civil & revolutionary war marching units that everyone enjoys during the parade. Since the beginning of the nineties, the committee has raised the funds necessary to hire the bands, the reenactment marching units and the band concert. 

The major fundraisers are the corporate donations from both local and regional businesses and the annual Silent Auction. The rejuvenated golf tournament (the South Shore Fourball, a must play tournament for the area's best golfers!), the response from the Light Plant flyer in June, and the annual button sales also generate needed funds.

Appointee (Appt. By Selectmen annually)
Jim Murphy, Chair Jason Caine
Louis O'Dea Carrie Murphy
Deputy Chief Glenn Olsson, Police Liaison Monica Conyngham
Tom Hoffman Deanna Costa
Virginia Gray, Rotary Club of Hingham & Hull Liaison Bill Nickerson
George Ford, Uncle Sam Cyndy Tonucci
Robin Nickerson Melissa Caine
Eric Dresser Cassie McDermott
Mary Ellen Carlisle Dan Lahiff

2014 Report

The Hingham 4th of July Parade Committee is pleased to report on its highly successful activities in 2014 resulting in another vibrant and patriotic Parade enjoyed by everyone - despite the rainy weather! This year's theme - America the Beautiful - celebrated the natural splendor of the country, starting with our own home town. From the many floats to the entries by Hingham's 5th graders in the button design contest, appreciation for the beauty of Hingham was on display.

Parade participants, volunteers and spectators showed special dedication to the Parade this year because heavy rains were predicted all morning on the 4th – since there is no rain date, the show must go on!! The threat of rain, however, did not diminish the effort that went into creating great floats and bands. The Worcester Brass Band and the Firehouse Dixie Band were new additions to the event this year. And although there were slightly fewer floats this year due to the weather, all 23 floats that participated were warmly received, and the judges ultimately settled on the following awards:

• Most Unique – Farmer's Market
• Most Patriotic – RD Corp
• Most Beautiful – Hingham Little League
• Best in Parade – Hingham Girl's Hockey

Although the focus of our activities is ultimately the big day itself, the Parade is the culmination of a number of less public activities by the Committee in the months, weeks, days – and sometimes hours – leading up to the event. Within a few weeks after the Parade's conclusion, committee members meet to evaluate the content, conduct and organization of the recent event itself, with safety as a primary concern, and then start planning improvements for the coming year.

Work on the 2014 Parade began in earnest in late 2013 under Chairman Jim Murphy. We welcomed new members to the Committee, and discussed the selection of this year's Parade theme. After consideration of input from supporters through the Committee's Facebook page and various notes sent to the Committee, we decided on "America the Beautiful" and let the elementary schools know. The Art Teachers at East, South, Foster and Plymouth River Schools set their students about designing a 2014 Parade button.

After the 5th graders had the chance to create a button design based on the theme, the Committee had the pleasure (and difficulty) of selecting the winning button, an activity that brings out the artist in all the members. The winning entry was by Gretchen Brown, a 5th grader from East School where Mr. Bliss is the art teacher. She was rewarded with a beautiful commemorative plaque from Aisling Gallery and a place of honor in the Parade cortege. In addition, she and the 2013 winner, Sophie Spielberger, offered comments at the ceremony to HCAM-TV, which was present to film an episode in its Getting to Know series, featuring the Parade Committee and its fundraising and organizational activities.

The Committee then turned its attention to selecting a Grand Marshal for the Parade. Each year there are several worthy candidates who have made a big contribution to the lives of Hingham residents, and this year was no different. The Committee was pleased to select Tom "Hoffy" Hoffman, a Hingham resident with over 30 years of (over-)active volunteering, including weekly service at the Hingham Interfaith Food Pantry, serving as President of both Hingham Youth Football and the Hingham Sports Partnership, and significant fundraising for veterans' and many other worthy causes. He was a terrific choice and has since become an enthusiastic member of the Parade Committee!

The Committee had discussed for several years the need to create a logo for the Parade so that people can easily identify fundraising and other publicity materials. Committee member Deanna Costa led the effort using a highly creative technique that created a competition among graphic artists around the world, through social media. A fabulous winning design soon emerged and it was used throughout the 2014 fundraising campaign. The Committee hopes that the Parade logo will help the community easily identify all Parade-related activities.

With these important activities completed, we got down to business to raise the funds needed to host a great Parade! The first major fundraiser of the season was the Parade's 5th Silent Auction, held at Black Rock Country Club on May 2nd. Jason Caine again led the organization of the auction, with key support from Melissa Caine, Mary Ellen Carlisle, Deanna Costa, Cyndy Tonucci and Carrie Murphy. As always, local businesses stepped up with a broad selection of donations covering their services and products, and a special Chef Experience with Paul Wahlberg! So thank you to our many merchants for their important contributions to the evening's success, to the management and staff at Black Rock Country Club for their hospitality, and to the many friends and Hingham citizens who attended and contributed financially to the evening's success.

The Committee also continued last year's highly successful "50 Flags Campaign", in which volunteers place 50 U.S. flags on house lawns for a donation of $50. The flags, which remained on lawns for about a week (or more!), were a terrific way for people to show their support of our servicemen and women, and to match their pride in the Parade with a financial contribution. About 60 households participated. Thank you to all who participated in this event that provided wonderful reminders of patriotism across all corners of Hingham. We expect this effort to continue to grow in 2015, and we hope to have community youth volunteers for this effort.

Our Button-selling fundraiser was, as always, in the expert hands of Committee member Ginny Gray, with assistance from Dewitt DeLawter. Every year, she and her Hingham-Hull Rotary colleagues place buttons with local merchants and at town facilities, and Ginny herself makes great efforts to attend town events to extend her selling reach. A button table at "A Taste of Hingham," the downtown food festival held in May, was a big hit – raising more than $400 in a few hours. The Committee also sees a need to recruit the town's students to help in this effort.

This year's Selectmen's Cup Golf Tournament (produced by Jay McGrail and his fantastic team at South Shore Country Club) drew from last year's momentum to have an even better event, with great weather, and a wonderful meal under the tent at the South Shore Country Club. The celebration included a special Thank You tribute to retiring selectman Bruce Rabuffo. Led by Jay McGrail and Jim Murphy, the scramble format offered exciting golf while also raising much-needed funds for the Parade. Paul Heanue of HMLP did a terrific job as an auctioneer for a handful of items that "added to the pot" for the Parade coffers. We had over 100 golfers and everyone had a fabulous day for a great cause.

The 2014 South Shore Four Ball was also a major fundraising success. The event, which started only a few years ago by Jay McGrail and the team at the South Shore Country Club, has grown into a challenging two-day tournament for many of the best golfers in eastern Massachusetts! Jay and the SSCC also provide the Parade Committee with much needed Parade Day mobility in the form of golf carts, essential for the mustering of the many participants - for these efforts the Committee remains very grateful.

Our annual flyer was kindly included in a Hingham Municipal Light Plant (HMLP) mailer and issued to approximately 9,500 residences. The flyer, designed by Carrie Murphy and printed by The Ink Spot (at no cost!), allowed us to reach out to most of the households in Hingham with a request for donations and the latest Parade/Fourth of July news. Such support from the community and local businesses is critical to the success of the Committee's fundraising efforts.

This year, thanks to the time and talents of Deanna Costa, we used social media to publicize and organize these events – with great success. Through the Parade's Facebook page, Facebook.com/Hingham4th, supporters in the community were able to: keep tabs on Parade Committee activities, weigh in on the selection of the Parade theme, buy tickets in advance for the Silent Auction, find out about the 50 Flags Campaign, and hear about weather conditions as the 4th approached! As all learned, there is NO RAIN DATE for the Parade – it is what it is.

And of course, there is the big day itself. In addition to the Parade Grand Marshal Tom Hoffman, we had the honor of having the participation of both the Hingham Citizen of the Year, Doug McCaig, who has had so much to do with the establishment of the Hingham High School Crew program, and the Veteran of the Year, Ernie Sofis, a long-time commander of the American Legion Post. [Doug McCaig made a surprise appearance due to an early return from London.] A long list of contributors and sponsors deserve our recognition.

Firstly, we thank our own Hingham Police Department, led by the Committee's liaison, Deputy Chief Glenn Olsson, which provides seamless and unobtrusive coordination of public safety.

The list of Parade sponsors is long and impressive:

• A.W. Perry, Inc. LEAD SPONSOR!
• Talbots, Inc.
• McCusker-Gill, Inc.
• Aquarion Water Company
• TRACEY Environmental Consulting
• Dunkin' Donuts
• Black Rock
• South Shore Country Club
• Polaris, Inc.
• Hingham Community Center
• Pyne Keohane Funeral Homes
• Clark Communication Group
• ColorMax Graphics
• Fruit Center Marketplace
• Terry Granahan
• Hingham Harbor Mobil
• The Lauter Family
• Raffaels at SSCC
• The Rug Merchant
• South Shore Bank
• Tower of Power
• Vineyard Vines
• Aquarion Water Company, which provided water at the Parade, as well as a sponsor for The Selectmen's Cup Tournament.

Dan Leahy, General Manager of Porsche of Norwell /Audi Norwell /Volvo Village of Norwell, once again provided the stylish convertibles for the Veteran of the Year, Ernie Sofis, and the Button Design winner, Gretchen Brown. Finally, we are indebted to the many Parade Day volunteers, who provided the additional mustering supported needed to meet the needs of the Day. We hope to see all return next year to continue the tradition, and to add additional members drawn from the many active Hingham community groups.

The Veteran of the Year was initiated in 2014 by the Hingham Veterans Council. Keith Jermyn, of Hingham Veterans Services, requested if the Parade Committee would consider honoring the annual Veteran of the Year by adding the Council's selection into the parade. The Committee happily approved this request and ColorMax Graphics developed a terrific banner to honor Ernie Sofis. After the parade, the Committee presented Mr. Sofis with the banner, as a token of our appreciation to his service to the United States of America. He said his grandchildren will love it!

Our e-mail address is hingham4th@gmail.com. Information about past and future parades can be found on the Parade page or on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/Hingham4th.

If you would like to be a part of the committee or participate in the parade or golf tournament please contact Jim Murphy, 781-726-2519, or jmurphylsp@gmail.com

Jim Murphy, Chair
Jason Caine
Louis O'Dea
Carrie Murphy
Deputy Chief Glenn Olsson, Police Liaison
Monica Conyngham
Virginia Gray, Hingham-Hull Rotary Liaison
Deanna Costa
George Ford, Uncle Sam
Gabby Roegner
Robin Nickerson
Cyndy Tonucci
Dewitt DeLawter
Melissa Caine
Mary Ellen Carlisle
Cassie McDermott
Susan Hagstrom
Dan Lahiff
Mary Pizzelli
Christine Speilberger
John Monz
Bill Nickerson
Eric Dresser