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Fair Haven Struts Its Stuff

by Allan Appel | May 30, 2014 1:18 pm

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Posted to: Chatham Square, Fair Haven

Allan Appel Photo Rafael Ramos was hailed as an inspiration, resource, and role model as he received an outstanding leadership award.

And 150-year-old Mary Wade lookedyounger than ever in her new Victorian lace dress.

Both historic Fair Haveners took part Friday in the festive sixth annual Fair Haven Community parade.

To the oompahs of drums, the paraders, several hundred strong, formed up in perfect marching and singing weather in the Chatham Square neighborhood.

About 40 groups, including locals schools and not-for=profits marched, played, and waved hello to the residents of the historic Mary Wade Home, like Milicent Sullivan, who lined Pine Street with signs of appreciation and umbrella hats against the bright sunshine.

As she sat with a sign saluting veterans, Sullivan (pictured) said she was enjoying what was her first parade at the Mary Wade Home.

This year, longtime Mary Wade impersonator and Mary Wade Home resident, 86-year-old Marian Lemley (pictured), graciously bowed out of the role.

She passed the dress, as it were, on to Tiffany Burnham mwho since June 2012 served as the director of activities at the elderly and skilled nursing residence, which anchors the Chatham Square neighborhood.

Since its inception, the parade has sought to connect seniors at the home with their community. “May is older Americans month. That was one of the geneses of the parade,” said Mary Wade Home Executive Director David Hunter.

Additional objectives: To honor veterans, to celebrate the diversity of the Fair Haven neighborhood, and to have a good time.

Click on the play arrow to watch the young musicians of the Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School concert band regale the Mary Wadeites with a patriotic medley.

In addition to pausing to perform for the Mary Wade residents, the performing groups this year paused to give a shout-out performance to folks sitting on folding chairs in front of the senior center on Atwater Street.

Ahjolee Bolden, a 15-year-old West Havener (pictured at the center foreground) who has performed the last three years with the Nation Drill Squad and Drum Corps, said she liked waving hello to the seniors and to the many residents who came out onto their porches to watch.

The paraders turned from Atwater onto a closed block of Grand Avenue and then finished their route playing as they walked north on Clinton and into the back yard of the Mary Wade Home for a well-earned post-parade pizza and Italian ices lunch, provided by local merchants.

In a brief ceremony, Hunter praised Ramos particularly for founding of Bregamos Theater Company. He termed Ramos’s community and theater work an effective and “unconventional agent for change in the neighborhood.”

Looking out over a large audience of young people in band and military uniforms, Ramos offered thanks. He praised volunteering and community service and recommended it to everyone in the audience. “Nothing looks better on your resume,” he said.

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