Crowds turned out for the Jamesport Fire Department’s annual parade last night despite the afternoon’s stifling heat and humidity.
Fire departments from around the region, joined by EMS, elected officials and community organizations, marched down Main Road from Washington Avenue to Jamesport Fire Department headquarters on Manor Lane.
The grand marshal this year was 54-year Jamesport Fire Department member Lewis Tomaszewski.
Former Riverhead police chief Joe Grattan was among the spectators lining Main Road. He reminisced about the first parade he worked as a cop in 1963, his first year on the force.
“The parade started at the [railroad] overpass on South Jamesport Avenue,” he said. “It went down to Main Road, to the firehouse. It was over in about three minutes and 15 seconds,” he said, chuckling.
“My sergeant told me to come down over here to stop traffic,” Grattan recalled, pointing to the area of the intersections of South Jamesport Avenue and Manor Lane with Main Road. He and the sergeant were the only police assigned to the parade.
“I asked him what about the traffic on Manor Lane and he told me to park my patrol car so I blocked traffic on Main Road and then run over there to stop the westbound traffic and traffic on Manor Lane,” Grattan said.
“How times have changed,” the ex-chief observed.
The parade has certainly grown a lot since then — last night more than a dozen fire departments lined up their personnel and apparatus for the event. They processed past the flatbed truck that serves as a stage each year, where Jamesport firefighter Mason Haas serves as master of ceremonies each year.
The Firemen’s Carnival, featuring rides for all ages, midway games, live music and food vendors, continues tonight, tomorrow and Saturday. There will be a fireworks display Saturday night at dark. The carnival takes place at the community center on South Jamesport Avenue.