This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and the towns in Hopewell Valley will each be commemorating those military who gave their lives in service.
On the SUNDAY of Memorial Day weekend, line up will take place at 12:30 pm on May 24, 2015, with step off at 1:00 pm. The route goes from West to East Broad Street, up Princeton Avenue and ends at Hopewell Elementary School. There is no street parking along the parade route, which is marked days in advance of the parade.
This year is more of the same great line-up with many veterans marching along with groups including United States Marine Corp Color Guard, John T Dempster Jr Division US Naval Sea Cadets, American Legion Post 339, Central Jersey Military Motor Pool, Twin Pines Composite Squadron (Civil Air Patrol), Pipes and Drums of the Blue and Gold (part of the New Jersey State Police Band), the Hopewell Fire Department/Emergency Medical Unit & Ladies Auxiliary, Pennington Fire Company and Ladies Auxiliary, Pennington First Aid, Union Fire Company and Rescue Squad, Calvary Baptist, Hopewell Valley Central High School Marching Band, Christine’s Hope for Kids, Hopewell Council of Churches, Hopewell Borough Bike Brigade, Montgomery Fire Department #s 1 and 2 and EMS, Rocky Hill Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, Rocky Hill First Aid, Amwell Valley Fire Company, several local Girl Scouts and Boy Scout Troops. Every year there are bagpipes so hopefully this is more of the same — along with lots of cool vehicles and horses.
The parade passes by a reviewing stand in the center of town, near The Brothers Moon, where a member of the fire department will announce parade participants as they process. At this location, the Blawenburg Band will play, local singer and teacher Dana Varhley will sing, and some of the participants will stop by to say a few words or prayers as their groups pass the reviewing stand.
“The Hopewell Fire Department is honored to continue to host the Hopewell Memorial Day Parade,” said Co-Chair Julie Paul. “While we all enjoy the unofficial start to summer with BBQs and first dips in the pool, it is important for us to remember and recognize the true meaning of Memorial Day.”
Ali Myers, also Co-Chair of the parade, shared, “Growing up in the borough, I remember watching the parade and being excited when I participated in it. As an adult, I now realize the true meaning of the parade and hope to honor our veterans and thank them for everything they have done.”
The Hopewell Fire Department is also excited to share that they received a $3000 donation from American Legion Post 339 and express deep appreciation to the legion for helping the fire department honor and show appreciation for our military.
On MONDAY, May 25th, the event kicks off at 9am starting with the American Legion Post #339 who will be memorializing local veterans with a 21 gun salute at each of the town’s monuments. They will start at St. James Chapel on Eglantine Ave., proceed to Pennington Presbyterian Cemetery, Sun Bank Veteran Monument, and finish at the African American Cemetery on South Main Street.
Parade line up begins at 10am at 425 South Main Street and will promptly start at 11am. The route is South Main St., to West Delaware to Green Street. The “Kids On Bikes Brigade ” should check in at Toll Gate Grammar School at 10:15am. Judging of decorated, bikes, scooters, wagons will take place prior to start of the parade and prizes will be awarded.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating our Heroes and Hometown Heritage for 125 years” with the local fire departments showing off of some of their older trucks. The Borough has invited previous grand marshals of the parade and also previous council person and mayors to join the celebration.
Pennington has created a special flag designed for the 125th anniversary (available for purchase through the Hopewell Valley Historical Society for $40) and will have 125th mini flags for all the child participants in bike brigade.
“The parade is always a fun, small town event and reminds me of something out of a Norman Rockwell painting,” said Michelle Needham, Pennington Parks & Recreation Chair. “This year, we have invited many local members to honor not only their service to their country but those who have served the community for years and have made Pennington a special place to live.”
End the day with a concert on the town green, Howe Commons at 65 S. Main Street, featuring the band “All for Bette”. Concert is 5:30-7:30 pm. Bring a blanket and picnic and enjoy the evening with neighbors and friends. For more information go to penningtonboro.org and view under Parks & Recreation Commission site.
Memorial Day Ceremony at Alliger Park at 11am at 203 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road next to the municipal complex. The Township says that it is appropriate to wear one’s uniform. The ceremony will include a flyover, dove release, military static displays, and brick unveiling. Bring lawn chairs.