One of the biggest sacrifices caused by the pandemic has been the omission of traditional outdoor activities that mark the passage of time and have become a core part of hometown life.
For Haddonfield, that has meant the cancellation of the Memorial Day Parade and associated festivities for the last two years, as well as the scuttling of Fourth of July activities and the reconfiguring of Halloween and tree-lighting ceremonies in 2020 in favor of safer alternatives.
But on June 8, the board of commissioners unanimously passed a resolution, with two conditions, allowing the Haddonfield Celebrations Association to organize two days of Independence Day events.
“We were waiting for the commissioners’ approval,’ said Ken Tomlinson, head of the Haddonfield Celebrations Association, on June 7. “They had to give us their blessing. We missed last year and now we’re back.”
At the commissioners’ meeting one day later, Mayor Colleen Bianco Bezich stated the conditions for the 4th were as follows: submission of an application and approval by the fire marshal to allow Pyrotechnica to supervise the fireworks display, and approval of the fireworks by all property owners within the fallout zone.
The holiday is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. on July 3, with music from The Shore Thing on a stage at the intersection of Tanner Street and Kings Highway East. The evening will commence with fireworks from the field at Haddonfield Middle School beginning at approximately 9:20 p.m. Tomlinson said there would be no food trucks lining Kings Highway or other extras.
The second part of the celebration, the return of the traditional parade, is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. sharp on July 5 from the staging area near First Presbyterian Church along Kings Highway East.
Along with the commissioners, appearances by the 2020 and 2021 Lions Club Citizens of the Year, along with the Haddonfield Civic Association’s 2021 Driscoll Award winner, are expected.
One main difference is that the Celebrations Association plans to register only family groups and group floats for the parade. The usual children’s bike decoration competition will not proceed as in years past, but Tomlinson noted that kids who dress up their two-wheelers will not be turned away.
Per the commissioners’ resolution, to accommodate expected crowds, the following roads will be closed to vehicular traffic on July 3 from 5 to 11 p.m: Kings Highway, from the PATCO station to Haddon Avenue; Tanner Street, between Haddon Avenue and Clement Street; and Chestnut Street, from Lincoln Avenue to borough parking lot No. 21. In addition, Washington Avenue from Kings Highway to Lincoln and Lincoln between Washington and Chestnut are expected to be closed between 8 and 10 p.m.
For the parade on July 5, Kings Highway from the PATCO station to Hopkins Lane will be closed to non-pedestrian traffic from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Tomlinson preached kindness for those under pressure to get things up and running.
“Just be nice to everybody,” he urged. “We’re doing the best we can. We’re doing six months worth of work in just four weeks.
“I’d love the chance to get everyone back here and enjoying things the way we’re supposed to be.”
For more information on the schedule of events, and how to donate to the Haddonfield Celebrations Association, visit its website: https://www.haddonfieldcelebrations.org/.