Memorial Day Parade: The Route, The Marchers, The Full Drill

If you’ve been in town a while, you know the Memorial Day parade is one of the best community events of the year.

If you moved here recently — or for some reason have never seen the parade — don’t miss this one.

It’s a uniquely Westport, genuinely American event. First responders, marching bands and fife and drum corps are joined by just about every organization in town. (Including, of course, nearly every kid in town.)

But the focus is on the day’s honorees: our veterans.

Navy veteran Rick Benson (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

A few from World War II — the last representatives of The Greatest Generation — will ride proudly. This year’s grand marshal — 99-year-old Ben Pepper — won a Purple Heart at the Battle of the Bulge.

They’ll be joined by soldiers, sailors, pilots and nurses from the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The applause they earn is just a small measure of our respect for them.

Floats honor the veterans too. The Y’s Men are (as always) odds-on favorites to win. But every other group creates their floats with creativity and flair too.

The Y’s Men’s float won the 2021 contest — as usual. 

The parade begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Monday), at Saugatuck Elementary School.

It travels north on Riverside Avenue; takes a right onto Post Road East, over the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, and continues to Myrtle Avenue.

It turns left on Myrtle, heads past the reviewing stand in front of Town Hall, then snakes around to Main Street before ending in Parker Harding Plaza. (It does not stop at Town Hall!)

Everyone is invited then to Veterans Green across from Town Hall, for a brief but meaningful ceremony. It begins around 10:30. There are a couple of short speeches; a 21-gun salute; the laying of a memorial wreath, and music from the Staples High School band.

Honoring our veterans, on Veterans Green. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

The parade and ceremony are Westport at its best.

The entire town should be there to salute all who served and sacrificed, making it possible for us to be there.

Then, in the afternoon, the welcome-summer parties can begin.

Here’s the line-up for tomorrow’s parade:


1. Connecticut  Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps
2. Westport Police Department
3. Westport Volunteer EMS
4. Westport-Weston CERT
5. Grand Marshal Ben Pepper, U.S. Army World War II

Police and firefighters salute. (Photo/Nico Eisenberger)


6. Dignitaries – Selectwomen, RTM members
7. Westport Community Band
8. Connecticut Veterans Honor Guard
9. August Matthias Post 63 – American Legion
10. Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 – Veterans of Foreign Wars; VFW Auxiliary 399

RTM members proudly marched last year.


11. Nash Drum Corps
12. Westport Fire Department
13. Y’s Men of Westport & Weston
14. Westport Little League
15. Remarkable Theater
16. Staples High School marching band
17. Staples High School cheerleaders
18. Staples Tuition Grants
19. Westport Library
20. Westport Soccer Association
21. Westport PAL
22. Coleytown/Bedford combined middle school bands
23. Westport Woman’s Club
24. St. Paul Christian School

Tons of kids; lots of music. This was the combined Bedford and Coleytown Middle School bands, in 2019. (Photo/Sarah Tamm)


25. Knights of Columbus – Westport
26. Suzuki Music School
27. Girl Scouts/Cub Scouts of America
28. Builders Beyond Boarders
29. Sister Cities/Lyman, Ukraine
30. Circle of Friends
31. Westport Sunrise Rotary
32. Col. John Chester Fife & Drum Corps
33. Boy Scouts of Connecticut – Westport
34. Masonic Lodge
35. United Methodist Church of Westport-Weston
36. Westport Weston Family YMCA
37. My Team Triumph
38. Westport Rotary Club
39. League of Women Voters of Westport
40. Junior Colonial Fife & Drum Corps of Westbrook

Yankee Doodle dandies. (Photo/Maria Mastriacovo)


5 responses to “Memorial Day Parade: The Route, The Marchers, The Full Drill

  1. Peter Marks

    Let’s everyone thank our men and women who protect the freedoms we all enjoy. We salute you!🇺🇸

  2. Stephanie Bass

    It is always thrilling!

    Dan: gonna try to heave my house early. Any suggestions on finding a parking place between 8:30-9am?

    • Depends where you want to stand. Taylor Lot, police station, Colonial Green and Saugatuck Church all should be okay.

  3. Peter Hirst

    “But the focus is on the day’s honorees: our veterans.” Nope: that one is in November. This one is for those who did not get to be veterans. Perhaps if we really cared about and for the ones who did, instead of just pretending to three or four times a year, the rest of the holidays could focus on what they are intended for: the ones who died (originally in this case, the ones who died to remove the scourge of enslavement, still unfinished business); the removal of monarchy and its anti-democratic tyrannies, also unfinished; the value of labor, also unfinished business …

  4. Tom Feeley

    Rick that’s an excellent salute ‼️
    Go Army Beat Navy 🏈🇺🇸