FOUNDERS DAY 2016: Rain doesn’t disrupt any of the fun
By Bill Stedman and Judee Cosentino
Published: Thursday, June 16, 2016 9:00 AM EDT
Rain on Founders Day? No worries.
“The rain didn’t really put a damper on anything,” said longtime event chair Cindi Haddad-Drew.
It started to drizzle early in the afternoon as a huge crowd flocked to Booth Playground for the field activities. But Haddad-Drew said the timing was perfect.
“The field activities were not rushed out and everyone packed up at their usual time,” she said.
And the rain ended in time for the evening entertainment, including the fireworks show which went off as planned.
Perhaps the only ones who might gripe about the weather were the participants, judges and fans of the annual Doll Carriage and Wagon Parade, which stayed outdoors on the tennis courts in the light rain. Brothers Zachary, age 6, and Avery, 4, Keith rode their wild west wagon to first place as emcee Bob Hickey of Foxboro Cable Access sat in a puddle and interviewed the contestants.
Ava Baldwin, 6, was second while Lila Woodward, 4, took honorable mention among the 10 contestants.
Overall, it was one of the biggest Founders Day in recent years, said Haddad-Drew, noting that all of the available spots on the Booth fields were taken by local groups and both the Rotary and Jaycees sold out their food.
Even Daisy the Cow produced her “chip” right on schedule. The lucky winner was Diana Gray.
A big hit was a visit by an Army Blackhawk helicopter, which landed around 8:30 a.m. on one of the lower baseball diamonds with pilot Adam Byrnes, a Foxboro police officer currently on military duty with the National Guard. They took off around 12:30 in a cloud of dust that sent spectators scurrying.
Earlier, the parade went off without a hitch at 10 a.m., featuring more floats and individual participants than in the recent past.
Residents lined the parade route which event featured dozens of floats in the parade’s theme of “Farms and Flowers of Foxboro.” The Foxborough Agricultural Commission won the prize for Best Representation of Theme, while Normandy Farms was voted Most Beautiful.
But there were many other creative entries, include an homage to the former Small’s Greenhouses, which were on Granite Street from 1877 to 1982 and most recently run by the Wheeler family which created the float.
The Most Original entry came from the Fans of Foxboro Founders Day (aka the children and relatives of Martha and Jay Slattery). Their Star Wars float and accompanying characters included Debbie Cunniff as Princess Leia in a land speeder with 5-year-old Dexter “Yoda” Griffen in the passenger seat.
Cunniff’s aunt, Theresa Payne, surprised her by walking along with a poster-sized photo from the 1977 Founders Day doll carriage and wagon parade in which she is dressed as Princess Leia at age 7 with four-year-old brother Jimmy Slattery as Han Solo and cousin Joey DePasquale as Luke Skywalker.
Bringing up the rear of the procession was a horse-drawn carriage with four New England Patriots players, including most approriately, defensive end Trey Flowers. He was joined by Geneo Grissom, Nate Washington and Brandon Bolden, with Pat Patriot and cheerleaders walking alongside.
This grabbed the attention and stirred the heart of Renee O’Brien, whose sister, Nickie Roache, works at Hairs To You Salon.
O’Brien, who was watching the parade from the front of the salon, quickly grabbed her cell phone to take a picture of the football players.
But it wasn’t just the local celebrities that made the parade worthwhile for O’Brien.
“There’s really no other towns that do this,” O’Brien said.
Further up the road in front of the Historical Commission, three generations of family members took in the sights and often-booming sounds of the parade. Sally Inman O’Brien, who is a member of Foxboro High School’s class of 1946, was with her daughter, Leslie Sanders of New Branfuels, Texas, and her husband, Sandy Sanders, and O’Brien’s grandson, 11-year-old Jackson Wolff.
Up until that point, Wolff had never been able to see a parade in such close proximity, Sally Sanders said.
“You don’t see this in many towns anymore,” Sanders said. “This is special. You really got a sense of the community here with the parade.”
O’Brien, who only visits Foxboro every five years from her current home in Texas, appreciated the ambiance of the parade and the enthusiasm from the crowd.
“It shows a lot of pride that we New Englanders share,” she said.
For Haddad-Drew and her hard-working committee, that is the sentiment they want to create every year
“Founders day is very special to me, and I hope it is for you too,” she wrote in her letter on page 4. “We all look forward to your participation in the Foxboro Founders Day events planned for June 10, 2017.”
FOUNDERS DAY 2016: LETTERS: Founders Day worth every bit of effort put into it
Published: Thursday, June 16, 2016 9:00 AM EDT
To the editor: Do you remember your first parade or fun townie day or even fireworks? My memories go back to Fireman’s Field Day and now to Founders Day. Foxboro is such a wonderful and unique community that I call home.
Foxboro Founders Day is the one day of the year that we all get to put aside a day to celebrate together the birthday of our town, The Gem of Norfolk County. Saturday, June 11 has shown to me and The Foxborough Founders Day Planning Committee that spending a year in planning is all worth every bit of our effort we put into it.
We are a small. but mighty committee that year after year pulls off this amazing event and a committee I call family and team.
Thank you to the town of Foxboro, our residents, our merchants, our Police, Fire, Tree and Park and Highway departments and to our Agricultural Community that make our town what it is today and so very beautiful. If you’d like to revisit some of the day or might have missed some you can look at our Facebook page or website www.foxboroughfoundersday.com..
Founders Day is very special to me and I hope it is to you too We all look forward to your participation in the Foxboro Founders Day events planned for June 10, 2017.
Thank you all so very much
Foxborough Founders Day