With Luck, Two Time’s a Charm for Emerald Society Parade & Bagpipe Celebration

At their April 8 meeting, the Board of Selectmen voted to approve a road closure proposed by the Greenwich Police Emerald Society for a Sept 19 bagpipe band parade and competition on Havemeyer field.

Featured in the parade would be pandemic frontline workers, including workers from local supermarkets.

Captain James Bonney, himself a bagpiper who is a member of the Greenwich Pipe Band, explained that the event had originally been scheduled for last September, but was canceled due to the pandemic.

(The Greenwich Town Party was tentatively re-scheduled for Sept 4. Labor Day is Sept 6.)

Bonney said the difference between the original event and the rescheduled one is that 2021 is the Police Dept’s 125th anniversary.

Bagpipe band in a St Patrick’s Parade in Greenwich. Photo: Leslie Yager

“We’re doing some minor fundraising for the non profit ‘COP,’ short for Combined Order of Police, a brother organization to the Greenwich Police Emerald Society,” he said.

Bonney explained the Sept 19 parade would start at town hall. From there it would move up Field Point Rd to Putnam Ave, then down Greenwich Avenue, right on Railroad Ave, and at intersection of Arch and Railroad, all vehicles would break off and go to Horseneck lot to park, and marchers would make a right onto Arch Street and a left at the Mews to go Havemeyer field.

He said there will be food tents on the track at Havemeyer field behind town hall, and food trucks parked in the lot by Greenwich Commons.

Bagpipe bands will perform and Celtic dance groups will dance on a temporary stage. He hoped to have use of one of the town’s Showmobiles.

“Everyone is invited. There is no charge,” he said, adding that the main honorees of the parade will be hospital workers, ambulance personnel and first responders who helped through the pandemic.

Bonney said he was aware there is a 45 day approval window, but that he hoped to “go big” with the event, and will cancel the event again if that becomes necessary.

He said last year he secured commitments from 13 bagpipe bands and a dozen honor guards, but unfortunately had to cancel the event due to the pandemic.

Also, Bonney said he had involved local supermarkets, noting their cashiers have come to work throughout the pandemic.

Retired Captain Tommy Keegan, said the event would be a great celebration for the town.

“I can’t think of a downside to this at all,” he said.

Camillo said he hoped that by Sept 19, herd immunity will have been achieved and that the weather will still be warm. He said it would also be nice to say thank you to the custodial staff at the hospital as they were also frontline workers.

“We want you to succeed here,” Camillo said. “We’ll work hand-in-hand with you going forward on this.”

The Selectmen voted unanimously to approve the road closure.