McKee will serve as grand marshal as Fourth of July Parade returns

McKee will serve as grand marshal as Fourth of July Parade returns

Substantial funds needed to bring back the event

CUMBERLAND – The Arnold Mills Fourth of July Parade is set to make its return in 2021, and organizers expect more people than ever to attend this community event after they were forced to miss it in its traditional form last year.

“We’re absolutely having a parade,” said Joyce Hindle Koutsogiane, of the Arnold Mills Parade Association, saying organizers were only waiting on permission from the state before announcing that the event will go ahead.

The grand marshal for the 2021 version of the parade will be new Gov. Dan McKee, former mayor of Cumberland and a longtime supporter of the parade and the Boys & Girls Club, said Hindle Koutsogiane. Even when he was mayor, she said, he would put up signs and volunteer to do other tasks associated with the parade.

“He’s a down-home kind of person,” she said. “He’s not an egomaniac.”

Cumberland is very proud to have only its second resident to serve as governor, said Hindle Koutsogiane, the only other being Francis Garvin, for whom Garvin School was named after.

Hindle Koutsogiane said McKee was a fellow graduate of hers at Cumberland High School in 1969, and the two also graduated from Assumption College together in 1973.

The parade needs money, and lots of it, to move forward in 2021, said Hindle Koutsogiane. Some $30,000 needs to be raised to cover a variety of costs, but mostly to pay for the bands that play at the parade. Other costs include insurance, port-a-johns, and a small amount for floats.

Because July 4 falls on a Sunday in 2021, this year’s parade will happen on Monday, July 5, at 11 a.m.

Hindle Koutsogiane said she’s heard from plenty of people that last year’s drive-around-town alternative event just didn’t cut it. She said it’s good to be getting the parade up and running again.

Anyone who would like to donate to the parade should send a check care of the Arnold Mills Parade and payable to the Arnold Mills Parade Association, PO Box 7473, Cumberland, RI 02864.

Parade organizers are currently looking for people to run floats in the parade, with only Irish dancers and one car currently in the lineup, said Hindle Koutsogiane. She said they’ll take as many floats as they can get.