Pubdate: Sat, 04 Jul 2009
Source: Call, The (Woonsocket, RI)
Copyright: 2009 The Call.
Author: Joseph Fitzgerald


GLOCESTER - It's probably a safe bet there wasn't a  single Fourth of
July parade in the country Saturday  that featured spaced-out
Rastafarians dressed in lab  coats and flashing peace signs.

The "Medical Marijuana for All" float - a tribute to  Rhode Island
becoming the third state in the nation to  permit marijuana sales to
chronically ill patients -  had the crowds attending Glocester's
infamous Ancients  and Horribles Parade in stitches as guys with 
dreadlocks and lab coats marched in front of a day-glo  VW bus filled
with cannabis (fake cannabis, that is).  Following behind the bus were
a couple of women pushing  baby strollers with signs that read: "Pot
for  Postpartum."

Famous for its mix of patriotism and irreverence,  Saturday's 83rd
annual parade didn't disappoint as  thousands lined the streets of
Chepachet village to  take in the pageantry. 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.

Anyone who's ever been to Rhode Island's most wacky  July 4th
spectacle knows anything goes and the state's  new marijuana law got
the royal treatment Saturday.

The new law allows up to three non-profit stores in the  state to sell
marijuana to patients registered with the  state Department of Health.
The drug remains illegal  under federal law, but President Barack
Obama's  administration has said it will not target stores that 
comply with state law.

Speaking of President Obama, Glocester locals poked fun  at the 44th
President with a float called the "U.S.S.  Bailout," which depicted
children in an aluminum  rowboat bailing out water with cans, while
"President  Obama" stood to the side pouring water just as quickly 
back into the boat. A banner on the front of the float  read: "Your
financial future is finally secure - our  Kids will bail us out." A
second sign with one of  Obama's campaign slogans - "change you can
believe in -  was re-worded to say "debt you can believe in."

"Awesome," yelled one parade goer who nearly jumped out  of her shoes
as the Yankee Volunteers of Seekonk let  off a musket blast to the
cheers of the crowds.

The Ancients and Horribles parade typically lasts about  45 minutes,
but it's 45 minutes jam-packed with some of  the weirdest sights
you'll ever see in an Independence  Day parade.

One of the most sophisticated floats in this year's  parade was called
"The Wild West," which featured a  western montage of about 25 actors
engaged in gun  fights, drinking in saloons, mining for gold and 
presiding over a hanging.

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  tractors 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 Chepachet  Union Church to the
green-shirt clad members of the  Pascoag 4-H Club.

And what would the Ancients and Horribles Parade be  without the bands
and politicians. Waving to crowds  were U.S. Senators Jack Reed and
Sheldon Whitehouse,  Attorney General Patrick Lynch, and
Representatives  Edwin Pacheco and James Langevin.

The parade grand marshall this year was Claire  Clisdell, a longtime
town resident and parade-goer who  has entered the parade's Decorated
Bicycle contest for  the past eight years. Clisdell, who is in her
70's, is  a longtime supporter of the parade.

The parade ended - as it does every year - with a  contingent of fire
trucks from Glocester, Burrillville  and Foster blasting their sirens
and horns.

Preceding the parade was Glocester's traditional Fourth  of July Road
Race. The 35th-annual race featured four  races: a 5=-mile race, a
1.75-mile race, a 1-mile race  for children 8 to 12 years old, and a
half-mile race  for children 7 years and under. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr