Big Parade to Mark Dot Day Centennial

This year's Dorchester Day Parade, set for Sunday, June 6 at 1 p.m., is shaping up to be one of the biggest in years, according to organizers who will mark the 100th anniversary of the first-ever Dorchester Day, held in 1904 in Savin Hill.

This year's parade will be dedicated to the men and women serving the United States in the military.

During the parade, a wreath in honor of Sergeant Daniel J. Londono, an East Cottage native who was killed in action in Iraq in March, will be laid at a veterans' memorial in Fields Corner.

"It's important for us to carry on the tradition of the parade for the veterans who started it, as well as for the community of Dorchester,"said Ed Crowley, clerk of the parade committee. "The parade has become a meaningful local event that has grown with the community and will continue to be a source of neighborhood pride."

Crowley says that the parade organizers are actively recruiting veterans who have returned from the Persian Gulf - or family members of those serving now - to march in a special section of the parade.

Among the highlights of this year's parade, according to Crowley will be an aviation fly-over by the National Guard helicopters during the parade, weather permitting. Also, the USS Cape St. George, a Navy vessel, will dock in Boston Harbor to mark the event and the commander and crew of the ship will lead the parade, along with Chief Marshal Mike Bonanno, a retired United States Marine, and Mayor Tom Menino. The Gold Star Mothers, an organization of women whose children have died in the military line of duty, will join the parade committee as honored guests in the reviewing stand.

Crowley says that nearly 20 marching bands including a drum corps, jazz band, and bagpipe brigade will participate in this year's Dot Day Parade. New to the parade this year will be a float competition sponsored by UMass Boston, which will award prizes to entries in three categories.

The parade reviewing stand will be located at the end of the route, in front of the Catherine Clark Apartments at 915 Dorchester Ave. As always, the parade will begin in Lower Mills and follow Dorchester Avenue to Columbia Road, where the parade ends.

Tickets are also now available ($30) for the Chief Marshal's banquet to be held at Phillips Old Colony House on Morrissey Blvd. on Friday evening, June 4. The event begins with cocktails at 6:30 and dinner at 8 p.m. For tickets or more information on marching in the parade or volunteering, call the committee at 617-287-0085.