The rainy Fourth of July didn’t stop the Warwick Neck community from celebrating one of their favorite holidays. When the sun came out the next day, so did all the neighbors to have their 21st annual parade.
Bill Nixon, who invites everyone back to his house after the parade for lemonade, watermelon and a flag raising, said, “Anyone who wants to be in the parade can be. Some of the kids that were in the first parade have grown up now and their kids ride their bike or walk in the parade.”
Nixon believes there were upwards of 150 children in this year’s parade and he loves hosting the after celebration in his backyard. Nixon, who has a beautiful property in Warwick Neck right on Greenwich Bay, enjoys seeing everyone in the community coming together.
“I love my neighborhood and it’s great to see how big the parade has grown. The first year everyone wanted to be in the parade and we barely had anyone to watch it. We have a great community and why not share that with each other and I can do my part by sharing the view,” Nixon said.
It was overheard that if Nixon were ever to sell his house there, would have to be a written clause that ensured the new owners continued the tradition of the parade and celebration.
Cars were stopped and when the police officers give the OK, pedals on patriotically decorated bikes start to whirl and feet start hitting the ground as children laughed waving American flags. Children of all ages proceeded down Warwick Neck Avenue before turning onto Kirby Street. Cars with flags and lawn tractors decorated with bunting moved slowly behind the mass of children. Parents held their younger children, encouraging them to wave to spectators. Dogs politely walked alongside their owners wearing red white and blue collars or bandanas, excited to be seeing so many new faces.
Children had American flags painted on their faces and everyone was donned in red, white and blue. Nixon, in full patriotic glory, wore a full American Flag shirt and shorts. He drove his red convertible, covered in even more American flags, through the parade blaring the national anthem and other classic American songs through large speakers.
Mayor Scott Avedisian, who walked in the parade, said, “This is a great neighborhood celebration. The kids have so much fun and you can see it on their faces. What better way to celebrate your country and community?”
Janis Constantine, who has been going to the parade since she moved to Warwick Neck in 1995, said, “It is just so Norman Rockwell. All the kids participate and when they grow up, their kids walk in it. It is incredibly cute. It really is multigenerational. We always have so much fun.”
Once all parade walkers and watchers arrived at his property, Nixon welcomed them all and a group of children led all in the Pledge of Allegiance before Mark McHugh, president of the Warwick Neck Improvement Association, raised the American Flag.
Terri Moran and Janice Place, members of the Parade Reviewing Board, issued awards for all the children. Some of the awards were for the oldest and youngest attendees. Jerry Latham, who was driven along the parade route, won oldest at 104. Meghan Wurtz was the youngest viewer at 5 months old. Caroline Sauve and her family received an award for traveling the farthest. The Sauve family traveled all the way from Quebec, Canada. Sauve said their float, featuring a swimming whale, was a “Rhode Island, Quebec union.”
Moran said, “It’s our own little version of Bristol.”
On the sunny Saturday every child in the parade received an award for something. Nearly 300 people congregated on Nixon’s lawn throughout the day for the celebration.