Some Fairfield residents apparently don't want the parade to pass them by.

The town's annual Memorial Day parade is slated to step off at 10 a.m. Monday on its traditional route, but spectators-to-be are already putting out blankets, plastic tarps and yellow caution tape to stake out prime viewing spots along the Old Post Road.

"This is the earliest I've ever seen it," Old Post Road resident Alvin Prusoff said Tuesday, surveying some of the roped-off spots. "It's been pretty common to see this the Saturday or Sunday before. I've never seen it done this early." Prusoff wondered whether having blankets over the grass for this long can be good for the vegetation. Several blankets and black plastic bags can been seen spread out over the town's right-of-way in from the Fairfield YMCA, and there is even one spot blocked out by yellow caution tape.

Early selection of a vantage point long before the parade has been going on for years, said Prusoff, who lives across from the Y. Since residents are expected to maintain the grassy right-of-way in front of their homes, Prusoff said he sometimes has to move chairs and blankets to mow the grass.

"It's a little early," said acting Police Chief Gary MacNamara. He added that he's not aware of anyone over the years ever having had their chairs or blankets stolen.

There have been a few times, he said, when an Old Post Road resident has called because, instead of putting the chairs and blankets in the public right-of-way, they've been placed on private property. "We have at times gotten complaints like that," MacNamara said, "but we normally don't have to get involved."

Public Works Director Richard White said that, technically, the town probably has the authority to collect all the chairs and blankets that are in the right-of-way. "It would have to be all or nothing," White said, adding each year the custom seems to start gets earlier and earlier.

"It really should be first-come, first-served," he said.

The first selectman's office could not recall receiving any complaints about the practice over the past decade.