I was among the 400,000 or so who took in a little Holyoke on Sunday to watch the parade. My perch, at the corner of Appleton and Beech, gave me a great view of the parade doing a turn, and a peanut gallery of local men who kept up a lively banter, commenting on the marchers, cheering on favorites. My location at the turn gave us great show by a group of soldiers playing trumpets, trombones and a susaphone called the Minutemen Brass Band. They played with their horns blasting right at their delighted audience, an uptempo Dixieland number, and the crowd loved them right back. Band after band, car after car, I thought I had seen most of the parade when I walked all the way down High St then over te Maple Street to the big tent set up across from Francie’s Place.
Here was a bar set up and The Franny O Show playing their jaunty tunes, already underway. But I was joined by only a few other parade watchers, who were still out on High St. Then the show was interrupted by a parade of bagpipers, the Caledonia band from Holyoke was in the tent, blasting bag pipes and drums, while Franny Os took a break.
After the pipers came the Easthampton Firemen, tired from their walk, but mostly choosing Bud Lites over the Guiness offered for $5 outside. It was a joyful scene after Franny played a song they had written about the town they live in. Some of the verses included “there is no place I’d rather be than in Holyoke for the parade.”