1638 -- 1988
Rockingham County Newspaper -- July 8, 1988
Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
By Paul Wolterbeek
After much ado, the 350th anniversary celebration parade is slated to proceed south along Ocean Boulevard Sept. 11.
The parade has been billed as to be the most vast in scope in recent memory — more sizeable even than the town's United States bicentennial celebration of 1976.
Plans for the parade continued to coalesce in June, and parade organizers promised to keep citizens abreast of the situation as details are finalized throughout the summer.
Ocean Boulevard was chosen, said parade organizers, because of the road's divided lanes, and the scenic beauty along the drive.
However, controversy was still circulating about the choice in June, and even sparked a petition to revert the route back to Lafayette Road, where some say the parade belonged.
The problem was primarily rooted in the differences between the 350th Anniversary Committee, which has orchestrated the entire celebration, and the Parade Committee, charged solely with parade organization.
Members of the 350th Committee assumed it a foregone conclusion the parade would be along Lafayette Road. The Parade Committee's recommendation to run the parade on Ocean Boulevard came as a surprise to many, and was at first rebuffed by 350th Committee members.
According to Parade Committee Co-Chairman Gerald Dignam, the Ocean Boulevard route was chosen because the September parade date fell after the main tourist season at Hampton Beach, and would offer a fine alternative to perpetually congested Lafayette Road.
Dignam said other advantages were that Ocean Boulevard follows divided lanes through much of Hampton, allowing necessary traffic to be rerouted; and ample parking is available.
But 350th Committee members said the 350th anniversary celebration primarily commemorates the uptown area.
With the two committees at a stalemate, the Board of Selectmen stepped in to resolve the dispute and settled upon Ocean Boulevard, mainly to get things rolling in time for the parade.
Whether resigned to the Ocean Boulevard route or highly in favor of it, most involved with parade planning said the event would be one to remember, with bands from all over New England, mounted police patrols and a variety of club contingents.
The parade will begin at 1:30 p.m., Sept. 11, and will head south down the east lane of Ocean Boulevard to Hampton Beach State Park. The reviewing stand will be located on the east side of Ocean Boulevard, between C and D streets.
Those wishing to drive to the parade can request free reserved- parking spaces at town-owned lots at the beach. Parking requests will be taken during August. The time and place to apply for free parking has yet to be announced by the committee.
Free bus transportation will also be provided, and transportation arrangements and reserved seating for senior citizens are also being planned, Dignam said.
The free bus service will continue throughout the day, allowing people to stay for as much of the afternoon as they desire, Dignam said.