[ccfic caption-text format="plaintext"]
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
While the world was focusing on the pros and cons of Donald Trump’s July 4th celebration, Walpole held its annual July 3 festivities to significantly less controversy. For over fifty years, Walpole has held its “Night Before the Fourth,” celebration and this year would be no different - town residents celebrated America’s birthday with a parade, fair and fireworks.
With throngs of families clad in red, white and blue lining the streets between the East Walpole fire station and Blackburn Memorial Park, various police cruisers, motorcycles, fire trucks and even a truck with Smokey the Bear on top drove along, waving to the kids and occasionally throwing candy. Because so many of the cars had loud sirens, many of the younger kids riding along had protective headphones on, with some using the headphone bands to hold in little American flags just above their ears.
When the parade was over, a fair was held featuring live music, food and souvenirs for sale. Taking the stage was Southbound Train, a Massachusetts country group that advertise themselves as “a high energy, vocal-oriented, contemporary seven (7)-piece country band from the Greater Boston area — playing the best of country music's past and present.” Appealing to the crowd, the group stuck with well-known country songs from artist like Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney. Meanwhile, kids threw footballs and frisbees, and played with a parachute on the lawn in front of them.
While it was a hot day, a few Walpole residents were feeling quite cold at the fair. Those would be the various Walpole Police Department members who sat on top of the dunk tank and let kids throw softballs to try and put them in the water. There was no rule that only kids were allowed to throw, so technically, any Walpole resident with a grudge over a speeding ticket could have taken their shot - but it didn’t appear that any took the chance.
After the fair came the fireworks - literally. At 9:30 p.m., crowds gathered around the center to watch the scintillating display that is one of the most iconic Independence Day traditions.
While Walpole’s “Night Before the Fourth” celebration was a bit smaller than the events in Washington, it was universally enjoyed by residents old and young alike.