Kids, parents and grandparents kicked up some sand in Aquinnah on Saturday for the 12th annual Fourth of July children’s parade, a lesser known but well-loved Island tradition.
Island Fourth of July events, including this one, had been postponed one day as Hurricane Arthur passed about 75 miles east of the Vineyard on Friday.
At least 150 marchers and spectators turned out for the parade, which started from a private home on Old South Road and ended about half a mile away at Philbin Beach, where kids followed a treasure map and dug up a chest full of candy.
Sandra Melkonian, an Aquinnah resident, was decked out in red, white and blue robes and a star-shaped hat. She has been to each of the last eight parades, and each year she tries to outdo her previous outfit.
“This is our secret side,” she said, acknowledging the more famous Fourth of July celebrations in Edgartown. She said what started out as the tiny Aquinnah Pots and Pans Parade has grown to include residents and visitors from all over the Island.
Ruby Schiller, 14, was one of the parade’s founders in 2002. She said a few families in Aquinnah decided to have their own private parade, marching to the beach banging pots and pans. “There were only like 10 people that did it,” she said. “Now there are a lot of people that do it.”
The pots and pans were less evident on Saturday, but Ruby said that to commemorate the early days, her mom still wears a metal pot around her neck at the parades.
Kids got into the patriotic spirit with red, white and blue temporary tattoos, face painting and flag waving as a long line of vehicles — including antique cars, a fire engine, a golf cart, a motorcycle and a miniature police cruiser — lined up on Old South Road. At 11 a.m. a joyful cacophony of horns, sirens and cheering filled the leafy neighborhood, continuing northwest down Moshup Trail toward the beach. On the other side of the sand dunes, the horns and sirens were replaced by the sound of crashing waves and an ocean breeze as children trekked down the beach to unearth hidden treasure.
Charter captain Buddy Vanderhoop, an Aquinnah resident, stood in for Tom Murphy as this year’s grand marshal. “I’ve never been to one of these because I’m always fishing,” he said, adding that the heavy winds on Saturday gave him an excuse to attend the parade.
Jerry Green, a seasonal resident who participates in the parades every year, joked that he was “shocked” to find Mr. Vanderhoop wearing Mr. Murphy’s red and white grand marshal’s sash. Mr. Murphy has led the parades for many years.
Mr. Green was happy that his children and grandchildren, including a two-month-old grandson, were taking part in this year’s parade. “I’d never miss it,” he said.