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Chester County Press

Kennett Square Memorial Day Parade delights large crowd

05/30/2023 02:58PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Bill Taylor may have retired as the Kennett Square Memorial Day Parade chairman, but he was clearly visible on Monday as a Grand Marshal of the 2023 event.
He sat high in a convertible, waved to the crowd, and smiled broadly as he acknowledged the applause he received.
His successor, who picked up the baton and guaranteed the continuance of the parade, is community “cheerleader” Dave Haradon, who said earlier, “We owe Bill a debt of gratitude for all that he did for 16 years.”
Traditionally, the parade honors two or three veterans of past wars as grand marshals. This year, the honorees were Taylor and Korean War Army veterans Hugh Hagerty and Paul Donohoe, who likewise rode the route in convertibles and acknowledged the audience.
The crowd numbered in the thousands, and spectators lined the streets of the borough from the parade starting point on south Union Street to its conclusion on State Street.
A memorial service followed at Union Hill Cemetery.
The spectators arrived as early as an hour ahead of time to set up the folding chairs in good positions for viewing. Those without chairs appeared just as enthusiastic as they stood two- and three-deep along the route. The mood was festive and folks appeared happy to see their friends.
Many who came wore patriotic-themed T-shirts, and some even had their dogs festively garbed. Early on, a vendor pushed a cart along the route selling soft pretzels.
The parade was a long one, lasting an hour-and-a-half. As the end came with fire trucks and a Blittersdorf tow truck lumbering to bring up the rear, onlookers expressed their appreciation.
One viewer said, “It was great, and it was longer than in the past. They seemed to have more participants this year.”
Another woman with her friends said, “It was wonderful.”
The music and announcing was clear and loud, with each marching group receiving its identification.
Prominent among the marchers were the Kennett and Unionville high school bands as well as the Kennett High School Alumni Band comprised of those who graduated years ago.
Also among the regulars were scouts, the Karate Dragon, Latino dance groups, local non-profits, two Uncle Sams on stilts, military jeeps, motorcycles and antique cars. Re-enactors marched up the street in period costumes with one group firing musket shots along the way.
Several groups of horses trotted the route with one especially talented equine who high-hoofed it up Broad Street.
Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick rode the route, as did State Rep. Christina Sappey. Another float carried a large group of war veterans.
The weather obliged the event with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 80s. Police were on hand at all the corners, but there appeared to be no mishaps throughout—just happy families and spectators who enjoyed a great parade.