375th Anniversary parade still has openings By Sean Flynn Staff writer

375th Anniversary parade still has openings
Organizers are looking for community groups and institutions to join Saturday’s grand parade.
By Sean Flynn
Staff writer
NEWPORT — A centerpiece of the city’s celebration of its 375th anniversary this year, a grand
parade will step off Saturday at 11 a.m. from One Mile Corner at the Middletown line and
head south on Broadway to Washington Square at the center of the city.
“We’re still looking for as many community groups and institutions to participate as possible,”
former Mayor Stephen C. Waluk, co-chairman of the city’s 375 Anniversary Committee, said
While it would be difficult for groups to put together a float on such short notice, it would be nice
to have representatives marching with banners, signs or other symbols, he said.
Neighborhood groups, churches and civic organizations already have committed to marching,
as have bands and orchestras.
“We have some exciting musical acts participating,” Waluk said. “Whether or not people can
participate in the parade, they should just come and celebrate the city’s 375th birthday with the
community as a whole.”
The parade is expected to end by 12:30 p.m., and then all participants, spectators and the
public are invited to the lawn of the Great Friends Meeting House at Marlborough and Farewell
streets for a community cookout.
The cookout has been advertised as beginning at 2 p.m., but Waluk said organizers want it up
and running by 1 p.m. so people in and at the parade will not have to wait. The cookout will
include free hot dogs, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and soda.
Dennis Sullivan, the city’s deputy zoning officer, is organizing the community parade. He has
been organizing the well-known Newport St. Patrick’s Day parades in the city for 20 years, the
past 16 years as chairman.
“It’s still open,” he said this week about parade participation. “I’d like to get as many community
groups and organizations involved as possible.
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The Kentish Guards Fife and Drum Corps from Warwick, seen at the Newport St. Patrick’s Day
Parade in March, will be among the groups marching in the Newport 375th anniversary parade
on Saturday.
We want all the organizations, groups and companies that make Newport what it is today in the
Sullivan can be contacted at City Hall at 845-5471, or by email at
[email protected]
Organizers do not want a replica of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and it won’t be, Sullivan said.
He said 40 to 50 groups have agreed to participate so far.
For example, he said a “Harp Donnelly Memorial Group” would be marching in the parade, led
by family members and friends of the late mayor. Donnelly was mayor from 197181 and had six
children, including Municipal Court clerk Sandy Henderson and longtime Newport teacher
Marilyn Donnelly.
Current Mayor Harry Winthrop and seven former mayors are expected to march.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center will have a group marching, as will the Point
Neighborhood Association and the Newport Recreation Reunion Committee.
Churches including Jesus Saviour Church, St. Augustin’s Church, Emmanuel Church, Mount
Zion AME Church and St. Spyridon Church all will be represented.
Community groups such as Newport Festa Italiana and Forum Lodge 391 of the Order of Sons
of Italy also will be marching, along with organizations such as the Newport Gulls collegiate
baseball team and its popular mascot, Gully.
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The Pell Elementary School, Newport Hospitality Commission and Fort Adams Trust will have
floats, and a float is being put together to represent the Rogers High School’s Athletic
Foundation, Sullivan said.
The Navy Band Northeast, Rogers High School Jazz Band, Thompson Middle School Band and
others will perform during the parade.
“There will be a lot of music in the parade,” Sullivan said.
The local Ancient Order of Hibernians will be represented by its Pipes and Drums Corps as well
as its singing group. Also marching will be the Rhode Island Highlanders Pipes and Drums
Corps, which includes many Newporters.
Many from outside the city will be contributing to the fun as well, such as the Night Life Fun
Time Band from Warwick; Yankee Volunteers Fife and Drums Corps from Swansea, Mass.;
Kentish Guards Fife and Drums Corps from Warwick; and the Firefighters Pipes and Drums
Corp. from New London, Conn.
Tony Lepore, known as the “Providence Dancing Cop,” also will be in the parade.
“He does something like a ‘Saturday Night Fever’ on the road,” Sullivan said. “He’s retired as a
police officer now, but he looks like he’s still in his 30s when he’s dancing, jumping and doing
The United Service Workers local union that represents area workers on the bridges will be
participating with its costumed characters, including Elmo of Sesame Street. Joining in the
festivities will be the Rhode Island Shriner Clowns of Cranston and the International Tennis Hall
of Fame mascot. The Museum of Newport Irish History will present dancers and St. Clare
Nursing Home will have a van in the parade.
The Jamestown Fire Department owns a horse-drawn pumper from the 1800s that once
belonged to Newport. The horses won’t be marching, but the pumper will be drawn either by
people or a vehicle, Sullivan said.
Among the businesses participating will be the Water Bros. Surf and Skate Shop, Pour
Judgement restaurant, the Landing Restaurant and others.
“We have others still coming on board,” Sullivan said.
TheNewportantFoundation’s Newport City Flag Marching Co., led by G. Brian “Dr. Love”
Sullivan, is sure to draw attention. Brian Sullivan said he was hoping for a group photo with
representatives from Portsmouth, which celebrated its 375th anniversary last year, but that plan
has been put on hold.
There will be no grand marshal in this parade.
“That was a conscious decision,” Dennis Sullivan said. “There are so many people who are
important to Newport and have done so much for the city. We couldn’t narrow it down to one
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