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Valley celebrates the Fourth

July 4, 2011

GLOCESTER — The sizzling heat that seared spectators lined up along the sidewalks in downtown Chapachet during last year's Ancients and Horribles Parade was replaced this year by more tolerable temperatures and a cool late afternoon summer breeze.
Unfortunately, a lot of the sizzle was also missing from the parade itself, which had far less floats than previous years and even less zaniness and political lampooning.
There were no burly guys dressed in drag and hardly any partisan jabs this year, but that didn't keep the smiles off the faces of those who came out Monday for the 85th version of the legendary parade, famous for its mix of patriotism and irreverence.
“It seemed shorter and not as crazy, but we still liked it,” said one local woman, who has attended the parade with her family for the past six years.
Famous for spoofing the latest in politics, news and entertainment, nothing is sacred as Glocester locals put on a Fourth of July show that has been entertaining northern Rhode Islanders since 1926.
Unlike last year's parade, which may have been the most politician-saturated parade of all time due to being an election year, there were only a handful in the line of march this year, including Gov. Lincoln Chafee, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. James Langevin.
There were glimpses of greatness during the parade, famous for spoofing the latest in politics, news and entertainment. And it was those moments that seemed to delight the hundreds of spectators who lined the streets of Chapachet village to take in the pageantry.
One float, perhaps the largest in the parade, was titled “Land of Make Believe,” complete with Puff the Magic Dragon, and President President Barack Obama riding a red elephant.
Many of the smaller floats that did take part in the parade were for local businesses and civic organizations and were more about advertising than political lampooning.
There were floats by everybody from Rayliene's Corner Cafe to TCA Landscaping to Wesco Oil to Uncle Harry's Barbershop.
Some of the biggest applause went to the legendary Providence dancing cop Tony Lepore who has been entertaining the streets of Rhode Island since 1984.
The parade, which kicked off at the intersection of Money Hill Road and Steere Farm Road and ended at Acote's Field on Putnam Pike, had its share of vintage cars and pickup trucks and tributes to the men and women of the armed services.
The parade also featured classic cars, military units and a mix of community organizations from the Chapachet Union Church to Girl Scout Troop 644.
The parade grand marshal this year was Stephen W. Kopeski, owner of Dino's Park -n- Shop in Chepachet. Earlier this year, the Chepachet Grange named Kopeski its Citizen of the Year in recognition of his philanthropic program, which has distributed $35,000 to more than 40 non-profit organizations in Burrillville and Glocester.
The parade ended - as it does every year - with a contingent of fire trucks from Glocester, Burrillville, Foster and other towns, blasting their sirens and horns.
Preceding the parade was Glocester's traditional Fourth of July road Race.
The 37th-annual race featured four races: a 5 1/2 mile race, a 1.75-mile race, a 1-mile race for children 8 to 12 years old and a half-mile race for younger children.

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