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Getting pumped for our parade

There’s a lot of chatter and news in the press— including this newspaper this week — about a certain parade that’s coming up. We think it’s a good time turn our focus to the annual parade that matters most to our community: the Dorchester Day Parade, which is coming up in just a few short months, on Sunday, June 2.

The Dot Day Parade is something that everyone in our community can take pride in hosting and participating in. The march has become truly representative of the full spectrum of Dorchester’s diverse communities.

March is traditionally the month that Dorchester Day festivities get under way for the year. The traditional Meatloaf dinner, catered by Gerard’s, will be held on Thurs., March 21 at 6:30 p.m. at First Parish Church. Michael Pratt will entertain at the dinner, which costs $15 for adults, $7 for kids and $30 for a family of four.

A relatively new tradition— the popular Dot Chili Cook-off— will take place on Sun., March 24 from 3-6 p.m. at the IBEW Local 103 hall on Freeport Street. The event is a fund-raiser for the parade. Tickets for the cook-off are $20 per adult and $30 for a family. It’s a great way to kick-off the Dot Day season and enjoy some great food and live entertainment.

This year’s parade will mark its 50th consecutive year on the Dorchester Avenue route. The celebration itself dates back to the turn of the last century, when members of the Dorchester Historical Society initiated a day to mark the anniversary of the town’s settlement by the Puritans in 1630.

But the current parade — as we know it— dates back to 1963, when a group of activists and veterans joined forces. Traditionally, and to this day, the parade committee typically chooses a veteran to serve as the chief marshal (although sometimes a non-veteran does serve in that honorary tradition, as City Clerk Maureen Feeney did in 2012.)

John Scannell, who served as chief marshal in 1981, says that a group of former chief marshals has begun meeting to plan a special event.

“Five of us got together Tuesday for lunch at Florian Hall and we have the names of all who served since 1963,” said Scannell. “We spent an hour-and-a-half developing a list of everyone, and we think that as many as 21 of them are still alive.” 

Others making the plans include George Hacunda, Dick Bennett, Joe Zinck, and John Connor.

“We would love it if all the former chief marshals could plan to attend this year’s events,” Scannell said. He invited interested persons to contact him at 617-825-5674. 

Another great tradition that will continue this year is the Mayor of Dorchester contest. The parade committee has once again put out the call for candidates. The “campaign” for mayor is one of the ways that the committee raises money to fund the parade each year.

Registration for the contest will remain open until the next Dorchester Day Parade Committee meeting on Mon., March 18. If you cannot attend the March meeting and would like to run, send an e-mail to info@dotdayparade.com or call 857-756-3675 and organizers will contact you with the details.

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