Parade planning underway in N.S. as groups sign on for belated 150th celebration

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – An effort to host a parade in honor of the North Smithfield’s 150th anniversary is now moving forward, with various groups in town and neighboring communities signing up to take part.

Richard Keene, president of the North Smithfield Heritage Association – and co-chair of the parade planning committee – said that the group has received a, “great,” response to invitations to participate sent out to local businesses, town departments, organizations and neighboring communities. The committee invited more than 70 different groups to join the celebration, and has already confirmed many participants.

Among those who plan to be in the line up when the parade steps off from Slatersville Plaza at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 7 are the Boston Windjammers and the Munroe Dairy Marching Band. The Civil Air Patrol hopes to have a marching unit, and North Smithfield Police and Fire Departments plan to send the Honor Guard.

Current and former town leaders have also been invited to march, along with state officials, and several have already confirmed their plans to walk the two-mile route.

The NSHA is sponsoring the event, and Keene is leading the planning effort with Parks & Recreation Program Coordinator Kate Pasquariello.

And the fact that the celebration is technically taking place one year after the town’s sesquicentennial anniversary does not seem to be slowing their stride. The committee has called on organizers from the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Providence to provide tips and insight in the planning process.

North Smithfield’s parade is expected to include five divisions, with a route set to begin going south on 146A and turning 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. The rain date for the event is Saturday, May 14.

The official 150th anniversary of North Smithfield’s incorporation was in March of 2021, but pandemic-related precautions led organizers to hold off on much of the celebration. An anticipated series of festivities, including a gala, a heritage fair, a First Night celebration and the parade itself were replaced last year with more modest acknowledgements, such as a virtual birthday party.

Historically, the town has held many large-scale festivities to mark such landmark birthdays. North Smithfield’s centennial celebration featured a parade, a commemorative book, a cookbook and a pageant in 1971, and such gatherings also marked the town’s 125th anniversary in 1996.

With marching units, bands and floats now preparing for the May event, it seems the parade – and community commemoration of North Smithfield’s 150th year – must go on.

The co-chairs noted that all those who would like to get involved, as organizers or participants, are welcomed. The committee will hold its next meeting on Monday, Feb. 7 at the Memorial Town Building at 1 Main St. starting at 10 a.m.

Anyone seeking more information can contact Pasquariello at kpasquariello@nsmithfieldri.org.

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