September 17, 2021

Old Lyme BOS Say Yes (Hopefully) to Memorial Day Parade, No to Midsummer Fireworks

Will there be a Memorial Day Parade in Old Lyme this year?

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen engaged in a lively discussion at their regular meeting yesterday regarding whether the town’s traditional Memorial Day parade should proceed this year. It was cancelled last year due to COVID-19 pandemic.

First Selectman Timothy Griswold noted the Governor’s current Emergency Order regarding the number of people that can gather at an event expires on May 20. Regarding the current situation, he said, “I think they’re talking about a wedding or a sporting event … when you march [in Old Lyme], they’re not packed shoulder to shoulder.”

He noted that the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Middle School Band had indicated a willingness to participate this year but that he had not heard from the LOL High School Band. He also said he had heard that the Boy Scouts would like to march.

Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal commented, “I’m offended that you didn’t ask the Girl Scouts.”

Indicating general support for having the parade, Griswold added that he was happy to, “Leave it up to individuals to be smart [in terms of masks and social distancing.]”

Selectmen Christopher Kerr stated, “I think the town needs the parade.”

Recognizing general safety concerns and the possibility of a Governor’s order prohibiting the parade due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases, Nosal said, “I’m neutral at this point.”

Griswold then proposed that the board should ask parade organizer Anthony “Tony” Hendricks to ask, “The usual people,” if they are willing to participate and, “Check with the state.” On condition that affirmative responses are received from a majority of the participants and also from the state, he made a motion that the parade should go ahead.

The board of selectmen approved that motion unanimously.

The Town of Old Lyme’s fireworks display traditionally rounds off the Saturday when the Midsummer Festival is held in late July.

The next item on the agenda was whether to have the fireworks display traditionally held at the end of the Old Lyme  Midsummer Festival. The festival itself has already been cancelled by the organizers.

Griswold opened by saying, “I don’t think it’s a good idea. The festival has been cancelled and it’s a lot of money.”

Kerr asked, “Why have the the fireworks if we’re not having the Midsummer Festival?”

Nosal noted that the Hawks Nest neighborhood was considering a fireworks show on a barge and wondered f the Town was supporting that in a monetary fashion. Griswold said the organizers would need to make a specific request to the Old Lyme Board of Finance if they wish to seek town funding.

Nosal also questioned whether the other selectmen had reviewed her proposal made some six months ago for a drone firework display as an alternative to the ‘live’ display, especially since in future years the LOL High School’s new turf field might preclude having the firework display located there.

The selectmen agreed they needed to review the situation for 2022, but voted to cancel the fireworks for this year.

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