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Parading spirit for past and present; Firefighters, pols, veterans march.

Byline: Aaron Nicodemus

MARLBORO - On a beautiful day, the city's 57th annual Labor Day parade drew huge crowds along downtown streets.

The parade, one of the largest in New England, was launched in 1952 to lift residents' spirits after World War II and during the Korean War.

What began with a dozen vehicles has blossomed into a three-hour event through the heart of the city, featuring firetrucks, marching bands, veterans groups and politicians. This year, there were patriots firing

Revolutionary War-era rifles, while a fife and bugle corps played patriotic songs.

The Marlboro High School marching band and the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School cheerleaders also participated.

The parade's grand marshal was Lisa M. Braccio, a Southboro resident who has sent more than 3,300 care packages weighing more than 65,000 pounds to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. She waved to crowds from a silver convertible.

Veterans of WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq received loud applause from people standing along the route.

And as always, politicians took advantage of the crowds to make their pitch for votes.

Mayor Nancy Stevens, members of the City Council and other elected officials were near the front of the parade. They were followed by U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester.; state Rep. James B. Eldridge, D-Acton, and Marlboro City Councilor Steven L. Levy, candidates for the state Senate; and City Council President Arthur G. Vigeant and former Statehouse aide Danielle W. Gregoire, candidates for state representative. The candidates' supporters threw candy into the crowds and handed out buttons and stickers.

Although some of the parade's cost is covered by sponsors, taxpayers support the event through the city budget.

This year, the parade tab for the city budget came to $21,000.

In May, City Councilor Paul R. Ferro attempted to cut $6,000 from the parade's budget, but that request was shot down by a 3-2 vote in the council's budget subcommittee.

ART: PHOTOS

CUTLINE: (1) The Marlboro High School marching band performs during the city's 57th annual Labor Day parade. (2) Crowds line the sidewalk to watch the parade go by. (3) Denise Larocque and her son, Lucas, 7, watch the parade from curbside. The family recently moved from Quebec to Marlboro, where Ms. Larocque grew up. (4) Andersen Dichmann, 6, and his brother, Harrison Dichmann, 4, plug their ears as a loud portion of the parade passes them.

PHOTOG: T&G Staff Photos/MARK C. IDE
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 2, 2008
Words:418
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