4th of July on Lanes Cove - 2006
Gloucester Daily Times
Lanesville abuzz over Independence Day festivities
Published: July 08, 2006 12:00 am
Ebb & Flow
Peter K. Prybot
The making of the one-of-a-kind 2006 Lanesville Fourth of July parade and bonfire mirrored the construction of a bee hive, except that there were three queen bees presiding over the swarm of worker bees.
This small-town America event turned out to be a crowd pleaser despite challenges from Mother Nature, who closed the drapes on the sun by early afternoon that torrid Tuesday, spat out several showers later on and held onto midget mugginess and an 80-degree temperature even at dusk.
Fortunately, she breathed gently out of the southwest during the bonfire.
Leaders of the hive
The cofounder of the event and parade grand marshal, Jane Mondello, is one of those queen bees. Dressed as Carmen Miranda, she first grouped the parade's record-setting, approximately 200 entrants at Lane's Cove into kids, horribles, and bands, then led the swarm through downtown Lanesville.
In the past, Jane had been helped by festivity cofounder and participant, Mary Parisi, who died of a brain tumor last year.
The architect behind the pyramid-shaped bonfire - approximately 40 feet high, 30 feet long and 25 feet wide, Dickie Crowell, is another leader.
This year, Crowell's creation mimicked the pyramid on the back of a dollar bill, complete with an eye. An outhouse housing an effigy of a diver sitting on a potty capped the solid pyramid structure made of outer tiers of desert-dry hardwood pallets with a core of odds and ends of clean wood.
North Shore Recycled Fibers of Salem, Town & Country Masonry of Magnolia, The Building Center, Steve Connolly Seafood Company and the John B. Wright Fish Company donated many of the pallets.
Fishermen members of the Cove expressed their distaste for some scuba divers by affixing a skull and crossbones and several "no divers" banners and flags to the bonfire, along with the diver effigy in the outhouse. Some of the divers who park at the Cove and dive off the rocks there have plundered lobster traps and have been accused of defecating in the bushes.
Charlie Williams drew up the skull and crossbones, which equated these bad divers with pirates, while Nate Pistenmaa, who was born on July 4, cut it out, and George Andriotti painted it.
"Wait until you see next year's design. I have it planned out already," said Crowell, a commercial lobsterman and clam digger. Incidentally, Minister Shamus Monihan from South Boston, married Crowell and his wife Katie last Fourth of July on top of a special wedding-cake-shaped bonfire.
Dan Brown, the brawny owner of Cape Ann Structural and Concrete, is a third major player of the festivity. Once again, he donated hours of his expertise and his mobile crane, which hoisted hundreds of strapped units of pallets and loose firewood during the building of the bonfire.
"He saves a lot of manpower," said lobsterman Glenn Rose. "Getting the job done is much safer this way. I do this for the love of mankind, the community of Lanesville, and my good friends," Brown explained.
The worker bees
Besides those leaders, thousands of worker bees did little jobs to put the big event together. Right off, bonfire builders Randy Young, George Andriotti, Paul Blanding, Scott Stuart, Patrick Hennessy, Kobie Rekelhoff, Steve Thibodeau, Russell Haselgard, Jesse Benjamin, Steve Amaral Jr., Charlie Williams, Dusty Ketchopolus, Eric and Zach Smith, Paul Blanchard, Rich Pino Jr., Nate Pistenmaa and Hal Wentworth picked up, delivered and stacked pallets.
"I've been coming down to the Cove my whole life; you just have to help out," said worker Steve Thibodeau, an employee at Sudbay's in Gloucester. "The building of this year's bonfire was a whole week event," said Crowell.
Parade participants, who exhibited latitude in age and themes this year, also made the event happen.
Jackie Medico and Jessica Cooper were the first women to carry the celebration's traditional Lanesville Fourth of July banner. Builder Geoff Richon paraded his 1934 Ford. B.G. & Kat Brown, along with their children Ila, 3, and Will, 1, - one of many families - marched as pirates, while Hal Wentworth paraded as a turtle and Russ Hudson as the official "Miss Lanesville," led by handler Cliff McCarthy. Nathan Cohen, a professional musician, also marched and performed in the band section.
The approximately 2,000-strong audience, made up of neighbors, locals and out-of-town visitors, was an integral part of the festivity, too.
"I love Lanesville because of this," said local Kim Spaner.
Dave Crowley, visiting from Yonkers, N.Y., added, "This parade is real people celebrating the Fourth. I love it. We need it in New York."
"No one in our family has ever seen a Fourth of July celebration like this. Last year was the first time they saw it. They enjoyed it so much that they all wanted to come back," said resident Susan Pories, from Newton. Her family traveled from Ohio, Michigan, California and even North Carolina.
Many Lanesville homeowners along the parade route, like the Stowells, Nattis and Montgomerys, also contributed by hanging current or historic American flags and red, white and blue buntings from their dwellings.
Jean Phillips, Christy Marques, Phoebe Souza, Ganine Montgomery, Missy Pierce and Judy Bonchue did their part by judging the parade entrants and handing out $10 gift certificates to Lobsta Land to the winners. These included: children Myriam Callahan (child Indian), Peter Mondello (fisherman), and Mariah Place ("Vote for Pedro - Napoleon Dynamite") and adults Hal Wentworth (turtle), Steve Amaral (astronaut), and Russ Hudson and Cliff McCarthy (Miss Lanesville and "her" handler).
The Steve Amazeen Band (including, besides Amazeen, Len Presutti, Chris Kariores, Wendy Brackett, Walter Carpenter, and Mark Davis) came through again this year and performed blues at the Cove before and during the bonfire. Their music resonated well within the Cove's natural amphitheater.
All of these components combined for what viewers say was the biggest and best Lanesville Fourth of July parade and bonfire. Just as importantly, the event had the best-behaved crowd ever. The continual "Wows!" coming from the spectators, the looks of awe frozen on their faces and the sense of patriotism, and community radiating from the crowd confirmed the event did its job.