Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer season
FAIRFIELD — Memorial Day means a lot of things in Fairfield, not the least of which is honoring those who have died in service to the country.
It also means the unofficial start to summer, and the beach sticker requirement, pancakes for breakfast, a food drive for veterans and a chance to register to vote.
The weekend begins with a flag raising at the gatehouse of the South Benson Marina, 471 Turney Road, at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the ceremony will include participants from the Police and Fire departments, Boy Scouts, and veterans.
Immediately afterward at 10 a.m., the Memorial Sea Ceremony will be held at the marina at the Russell Memorial. The event is held to honor those who were lost at sea, or buried at sea, while in the armed forces. After the ceremony, a boat detail will place a memorial wreath on Long Island Sound.
Sunday will mark the first day that residents can put out blanket and chairs along the parade route to save their spot. Several years ago, when people had begun to save spots almost a week before the parade, the Police Commission adopted a new policy at the request of veterans’ organizations. Now, spots can’t be “reserved” more than 24 hours prior to the start of Monday’s parade.
On Monday, when the parade steps off from South Pine Creek at 10 a.m., rain or shine, you can fuel up for the day at St. Paul’s annual pancake breakfast. The church is located at 661 Old Post Road, right next to the Town Hall Green. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m., and is free for all service personnel. Proceeds this year will benefit the Mercy Learning Center and the Edrice Lewis Viechweg Scholarship.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Tet Offensive,” and the speaker at the cremeony that follows is the Rev. Thomas Simisky, president of Fairfield Prep.
The parade goes along the Post Road, turning onto the Old Post Road at the library, and then goes past the reviewing stand at the Town Hall Green, ending just past South Benson Road.
No traffic will be permitted along the parade route beginning at 9:30 a.m., and no through traffic will be allowed on South Pine Creek Road after 9 a.m. There is also no parking along the parade route, and temporary “no parking” signs will be posted.
The Rotary Club’s truck will be at the head of the parade, to collect donations of non-perishable food and monetary donations for Homes for the Brave. Volunteers with buckets will also be walking along the route.
Before heading off to a family picnic or the beach, stop by the Fairfield Public Library on Monday and register to vote, if you have not already. The Fairfield League of Women Voters will be on hand from 9 a.m. to noon to register new voters.
If you don’t have plans of your own once the parade and speeches are done, you’re invited to the Fairfield Museum and History Center’s 11th annual Memorial Day picnic. Bring your own blanket and picnic, or take advantage of the Best Food Fast food truck. There will be free admission to the museum, a roving accordion player and the popular watermelon eating contest. The picnic runs from noon to 3 p.m.
If you plan to head to the beach this weekend and you have not yet gotten your parking sticker, it will cost you a daily fee of $50, whether or not you’re a resident.