Kennett Memorial Day Parade—a tribute to fallen soldiers05/23/2022 09:39PM ● By Steven Hoffman
The Kennett Memorial Day parade is finally here again. Started in 1948, this annual event has a long and proud history for the Kennett Square community.
This year’s Kennett Square Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 30. The parade route will begin near the Kennett High School. It moves north onto South Union Street before turning right onto East Cypress Street. The parade will then turn left up the 100 block of Broad Street, then turn west on State Street before turning right onto North Union Street and proceeding to the conclusion at Union Hill Cemetery.
The primary downtown parking location is at Kennett’s East Linden Street parking garage. The streets along the parade route will be barricaded starting at 9 a.m. A parade route map, parade participant’s access points and other information can be found online at https://bit.ly/KennettParadeMap.
Additional Kennett Square events related to the Memorial Day tribute will be conducted both before and after the parade. Starting at 8:30 a.m., the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5467 members will conduct a tribute ceremony at their facility at 704 West Baltimore Pike. This will be followed by a similar tribute ceremony at 9:15 a.m. at the World War I Monument located at the Mary D. Lange Kindergarten Center’s front entrance at 130 W Mulberry St. The public is invited to both pre-parade ceremonies.
After the parade concludes at the Union Hill Cemetery, located at 424 North Union Street, an extended Memorial Day service will occur at the same location. The service will be led by Joe Zenisek, Commander VFW Post 5467 with a national anthem musical performance by the Kennett and Unionville High School Bands followed by Leon Spencer singing “God Bless America.” The service will continue with a reading of names of recently deceased veterans, prayers by Rev. Jim Mundel of the West Grove United Methodist Church, the laying of memorial wreaths by parade grand marshals Ed Fourney and Marshall Ray Coe, Jr., a 21 Gun Salute by the American Legion Honor Guard and Civil War re-enactors, followed by the commemorative song of remembrance, “Taps.”
This year’s Kennett Memorial Day parade will include approximately 110 participants, of which about 25 percent are new to the parade this year.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Troop VFW Post 5467 has donated 4,000 U.S. flags for Boy Scouts to hand out before the parade so that attendees can wave them during this year’s parade.
As is the custom, the parade will begin with the Armed Forces Color Guard followed by the parade’s Grand Marshals, Alfred “Ray” Coe Jr. and Edward B. Fourney. Coe was a Sheridan Tank commander during the Vietnam war and earned a Bronze Star for meritorious service and valor while serving in combat operations and a Purple Heart for wounds incurred while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Foruney served in Korea as a Master Mechanic and received the National Defense Service Medal for serving during a time of war and conflict.
The parade’s musical lineup includes three bag pipe groups, three Fife and Drum units and nine bands.The three bagpipers walking along the parade route will include Ed Kitlowski, Andy McIntyre and Kennett’s own Bob Walters. Fife and Drum units include the 1st Delaware Regiment that performs all around the mid-Atlantic area almost every weekend and the Emerald City Society Pipe Band, which has been performing for over 10 years in Chester County.
In addition, the Bushwhackers Drum and Bugle Corps will be arriving in Kennett the day before the Memorial Day parade for an extended practice rehearsal performance on Sunday, May 29 at the Kennett High School football field from 10 a.m. to noon and from 2 p.m. until dusk. The Bushwhackers are a six-time world champion drum and bugle corps based in Princeton, NJ.
The public is invited to attend these rehearsals for free. Band members are staying overnight to participate in the parade the following morning, courtesy of the Kennett Area YMCA facilities.
The nine bands include the Billables Band, the Dixie Demons, the Philadelphia Eagles Pep Band, the Ferko String Band, the Lukens Band, the Northbrook String Band, the Sin City Band, the Unionville High School Band and the Kennett High School Band.
This year’s parade will see an increased diversity of participants representing the Kennett area Latino community, including Casa Guanajuato, Charros on Horseback, Hermanitas, Los Mini‐Chinelos, Maternal Child Health Care, Mexico Lindo, Mighty Writers, San Roque, Tonantzin Yaotecas, Unidad, and the Youth Soccer League.
Community sponsor organizations who have financially committed to helping pay tribute to the military heroes include the following:
Platinum Sponsor: Longwood Gardens;
Gold Sponsors: American Mushroom Institute, Taylor Oil & Propane, and Waters Retail Group;
Silver sponsors: American Legion Post 491 , Kennett Square VFW Post #5467, The Mushroom Festival, Fenstermacher & Company, Century 21 Pierce & Bair and Perna & Abrecht;
Bronze Sponsors: AIS Insurance Group , DiMatteo Financial Group, G. Guizzetti and Sons, Grieco Funerals, Kathy Barry Agency, LLC, Kennett Square KAU Little League, Kuzo Funeral Home, Letty’s Tavern, Mighty Writers, Phillips Mushroom Farms LP, The Market at Liberty Place, Tri-M Corp and WSFS.
Other Sponsors: the Law Oﬃce of David B. Myers and Madison Settlement Services.
For more information, including a detailed parade lineup list and any possible parade cancellation due to weather, go to the Kennett Memorial Day Parade website at https://bit.ly/KennettParade or send an email to [email protected].