The Dorchester Day Parade will be held on Sunday, June 2— but special events that lead up to the big day are already well underway, including a Mayor of Dorchester “election” that features three candidates who will help build revenue to pay for the parade.
Dorchester Day was started by the Dorchester Historical Society in 1904 to commemorate the town’s settlement in 1630 and the event is held annually on the first Sunday of June. The modern parade along Dorchester Avenue began in 1963, making this year the 50th anniversary.
The winner of the mayor’s contest will be the candidate who raises the most money.
This year’s candidates are Kelly Butts, Tony Dang, and Binh Nguyen.
“This year is going to be a great year with three candidates running,” said Ed Geary, adjutant of the parade. “In the past few years, there has been only one candidate, so it’s kind of hard to have a competition if there’s only one person. That, of course, doesn’t diminish what has been done in previous years, but I’m hoping this will really give us a boost, a shot in the arm to have a great parade.”
“The important thing about having the Mayor of Dorchester contest is raising the needed funds to put the parade on the street,” Geary said. “The parade costs quite a bit of money, and for us to do this year after year, we need to have different events and fundraisers too.”
Kelly Butts, 49, grew up in Milton but moved to Dorchester in 1986 when she got married. She figured that her house on Ely Road would be a “starter home”— but found that she loved the neighborhood too much to leave.
She decided to run for mayor of Dorchester to mark her 50th birthday this year— which happens to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the parade.
She has been raising funds $20 at a time from friends and family— including a big online push using Facebook shout-outs to donors.
The funniest thing is when I started giving these shout-outs to folks who gave me a contribution, the checks just started rolling in,” said Butts. “I was in line at Dunkin’ Donuts the other day and a guy I didn’t know, said, ‘Hey, you’re Kelly Butts, right? Her’s $20 for the parade!”
Kelly, who works as an investigator in the office of State Auditor Suzanne Bump, has also been selling “Kelly’s Crunch” homemade candy bags— which were a big hit for Easter baskets. Her big event will be a May 4th country-western themed party at St. Brendan’s hall, from 7 p.m.- midnight. Donations are $20. She will be selling tickets to raffle off a mini-IPad and a book of scratch tickets.
Ed Geary said an essay contest — sponsored by the Dorchester Reporter— will be built around the theme of the 50th anniversary.
“For the essay contest, we want the kids to write about something that was invented between 1963 and today,” Geary said.
The Parade Committee will also hold an art contest, open to all 3rd through 6th grade students who are residents of Dorchester or attend a Dorchester School. A panel of local judges will award prizes to two students during the Dorchester Day Chief Marshal Banquet, which will be held at Florian Hall on May 31. The winners of the contests are required to attend and will be invited to explain their drawing.
Each entry must be a drawing of the parade and must be based on the theme of the 50th anniversary of the Dorchester Day Parade. Each drawing must be done in pencil, crayon, paint or marker on an 8 x 11 piece of paper. Registration forms and entries must be postmarked by May 10. Registration is now open for the Little Miss and Young Miss Dorchester contests, which will be held on the same day— Sat., May 11 at 2 p.m. at First Parish Church. Little Miss contestants must be Dorchester residents between 7-9 years old on the day of the contest. Young Miss contestants must be 10-12 years old.
Entry forms and templates for all of the contests are available online at dotdayparade.com.
The June 2nd parade start at 1 p.m. in Lower Mills at the corner of Richmond Street and Dorchester Avenue. The 3.2 mile parade route travels along Dorchester Avenue to Columbia Road.