Lynn: The 4th of July is above all neighborhood gatherings

Kai Kimber and his bike were both dressed for a parade at Gowdy Park in Lynn. (Emma Fringueli)

LYNN – Families and communities came together in red, white and blue across Lynn to grill burgers and hot dogs, play lawn games and celebrate Independence Day in the sun.

The July 4 festivals at Gowdy Park and Fays Avenue have returned after brief hiatuses during the pandemic.

The Gowdy Park festivities kicked off with a parade around the park led by a fire truck. Dozens of children on patriotically decorated bicycles and homemade floats followed behind, forming a sea of ​​red, white and blue.

The parade ended at the baseball diamond, where organizer Todd Bacon, Mayor Jared Nicholson and Ward 1 Councilman Wayne Lozzi greeted the crowd and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Nicholson said: “At an event like this, an important thing to take away is gratitude to the organizers, people like Todd Bacon and everyone else who put this together because it doesn’t happen without volunteers. Another takeaway is the sense of community – a shared space, shared activities to get to know each other and share family fun.

Lozzi said he was happy to see the event return after the pandemic “put a damper on festivities everywhere.” He went on to say, “It has become a tradition. I’ve been coming here for almost 30 years, 18 of them as a counsellor… It’s so nice to see families. They bring their little ones, they participate in races and pony rides, their faces painted, there is so much to do.

The kids also enjoyed the bubbles, snacks and balloon animals. Lynn Police K-9 Units held a dog skills demonstration for children and adults. Volunteers handed out hot dogs, cold water, Italian ice cream and donuts. Other volunteers held raffles including a 50-50 raffle as well as others for toys, a round of golf at Gannon and a gift card for a hair salon.

Meredith Nichols from Lynnfield said it was the third year she and her family had celebrated at Gowdy. “This is our neighborhood,” she said. Nichols said his older children were thrilled to be back in celebration and still decorating their bikes. Her youngest, Gwyneth, was experiencing all of this for the first time.

This was the first year that Bacon and his wife, Colleen, hosted the event. She said, “It’s exciting. We had a good turnout. We didn’t know what to expect for the numbers, we’re lucky the weather worked out for us. I just hope [people] had a great time coming together after all this time in isolation.

“I was a little nervous,” Todd Bacon said of hosting the event for the first time. ” I am very happy. Things seem to be working well so far… we will start again next year.

Also in Lynn, residents of Fays Avenue held their 80th annual block party on Monday morning, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic. The event started with a parade led by Engine 7 firefighters, followed by a block party with a range of lawn games, food, drink and balloon artist Medford Big Al, who tied balloons to animals and crowns for children.

Event organizer Christine Efimetz said she loved seeing the neighborhood’s 80-year tradition become a family tradition for so many former residents.

“The best thing about it is not just that people from this neighborhood come, but people who used to live here come back. Some people’s parents used to live here, and they bring their kids, and they bring their grandkids, and even though they don’t have anyone living here anymore, they come because they lived here,” Efimetz said. “It’s a great tradition. This year it’s a little small, because we haven’t done it for a few years since COVID, but it’s going to go up there.

The event’s MC, resident Matt Healy, said he moved to Lynn during the pandemic and volunteering for the event helped him have fun and get to know his neighbors better.

“I am new to the neighborhood. I moved here two years ago, but they didn’t due to COVID, but we wanted to meet people and get involved… We had heard it was 80, and they do ever since people have been driving Model Ts,” Healy said. “I think it was a good time. It’s great to bring the kids here to have fun, for people to find each other, to meet each other, we’ve been locked up for two years, so it’s good to come back here.

Longtime Lynn resident Bob Mulvihill said he’s been attending the Fays Avenue Block Party for 60 years and thinks it’s all about kids and families having a good time.

“I’ve been going to this party for 60 years, I think it’s the little ones that bring it all together. It’s watching the good guys have a good time. It turns the neighborhood into a community, and that hasn’t changed one bit It’s a good tradition,” Mulvihill said.

Anthony Cammalleri can be contacted at [email protected]

Emma Fringuelli can be contacted at [email protected]

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Edward L. Robinett