North Smithfield’s sesquicentennial celebration to continue with parade in May

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – The celebration of the 150th anniversary of the year North Smithfield became an independent town is set to continue next spring with a sesquicentennial parade sponsored by the North Smithfield Heritage Association.

Parks & Recreation Program Coordinator Kate Pasquariello, who has been named co-chairperson of the event, presented a plan to hold the event on Saturday, May 7, 2022 to the Town Council this week.

“We are in the very beginning stages of planning this parade,” Pasquariello said.

Some details, she noted, have already been tentatively laid out, if subject to change. The one hour parade is expected to kick off at Slatersville Plaza at 11 a.m. May 7, with a rain date scheduled for the following Sunday, May 15.

“We need ample space for the parade route to set up and dismantle at the end,” Pasquariello said.

The parade will include five divisions, with a route set to begin going south on 146A and turn right on Greene Street, where it will pass Town Hall. Participants will then turn right on North Main Street before ending back at the plaza.

Pasquariello is leading the planning committee with co-chairperson Richard Keene, president of the NSHA. Also signed up to serve on the committee are April Lombardi, Christian de Rezendes and Ann Lilley.

“We are looking to have more members join us,” Pasquariello said. “It’s open to anybody in town.”

Historically, the town has held a variety of festivities to mark such landmark birthdays, including a centennial celebration that featured a parade, a commemorative book, a cookbook and a pageant in 1971, and smaller gatherings for the North Smithfield’s 125th anniversary in 1996.

The official date of the 150th birthday was last March, and in 2021, town officials had hoped to host a series of festivities including a gala, a heritage fair, a parade and a First Night celebration.

But while some efforts to commemorate the date moved forward, pandemic concerns led to a more modest recognitions throughout the year. Limited celebrations included a virtual party March 24, and in July, three days of events known as North Smithfield Days were also dedicated to the landmark anniversary, ending in a fireworks display at North Smithfield High School.

“We will be a little bit over that date,” Pasquariello said

The committee plans to meet at the end of this month to develop a list of potential marching unit and floats, along with politicians and dignitaries to include in the event. A potential timeline for planning would see divisions and parade marshals organized in March.

Committee members have also been speaking with Patrick Griffin, who runs the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Providence, to gain insight on how to organize North Smithfield’s event.

“He gave us, really, a great idea of what it takes to put a parade together,” Pasquariello said.

Councilors indicated they support the idea, with board President John Beauregard joking about the already full schedules of the busy volunteers.

“I think it’s great that you and Rich are doing this because you don’t have a lot to do already,” Beauregard said. “Good job. Thank you for doing this.”

Anyone interested in helping to plan the event is instructed to contact a member of the committee. 

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