EDITORIAL

Let's make sure we have a Gaspee Days parade

Posted 4/14/21

We feel comfortable making the claim that our community is important to us. We strive to bring you the most relevant and local news each week to keep you better informed and better able to contribute to the community yourself. This commitment has been

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EDITORIAL

Let's make sure we have a Gaspee Days parade

Posted

We feel comfortable making the claim that our community is important to us. We strive to bring you the most relevant and local news each week to keep you better informed and better able to contribute to the community yourself. This commitment has been the cornerstone of our business model for decades, and we rely on the support of our community in return to sustain us. It’s a very symbiotic relationship – and one we’re grateful for.

In our role as documenters and historians of the communities we serve, we have developed a sense for what aspects of society make a community stronger and more unified, and nothing seems to bring people together for a common sense of purpose and community pride quite like strong, long-running traditions.

Other parts of the country have large chili cook-offs, music festivals and Civil War reenactments – and we have Gaspee Days. It is a unique and celebrated tradition with deep historical significance and helps welcome in a new beloved summer season.

You know the story by now, but the cultural significance to the Burning of the Gaspee and the chain reaction it caused cannot be understated, particularly if you live anywhere near the area where it happened. There’s something magical about walking the same ground and viewing the same horizon that, many years ago, played host to a major turning point of history.

One of the starkest moments during last year to demonstrate how serious the COVID-19 pandemic was becoming was the cancellation of Gaspee Days. It seemed unfathomable that anything short of a surprise retaliatory British invasion could put the kibosh on such a beloved tradition.

Thankfully, the rapid development and availability of vaccinations has renewed our hope that Gaspee Days parade will indeed return in 2021. However, this year a different but more familiar enemy threatens the fun and jeopardizes the celebration we have long waited to enjoy: Funding.

The Arts and Crafts Festival that normally precedes the parade and raises the necessary funding had to be pushed back to September to provide more time for vaccinations to take effect and the threat of the virus to be further beaten back. As a result, the Gaspee Days Committee must now rely on its community allies to help raise the remaining $24,000 (approximately) to ensure the show can go on. It has already generously given $11,000 towards the cause.

Now we need to sound the alarm once more and put our own money where our printing press is. We are stepping up, too, with $20 of every new $39 annual subscription to the Beacon or Herald for the remainder of April going to the Gaspee Days Committee. We hope that others in the area – perhaps those who have benefited from the massive amounts of business that is generated by Gaspee Days – will be inclined to chip in to help ensure the show can go on this year.

Traditions make a community richer and stronger, but traditions only last insofar as the community is willing to support and participate in them. We are certain that there is enough support in this community to save the Gaspee Days parade, so let’s work together and make it happen.

Gaspee, parade

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