The Battle of Bunker Hill Day isn’t until June 17, but in Charlestown, the party starts right about now.
The Bunker Hill Associates unveiled their calendar of events for Charlestown Pride Week this week, and it showed a packed week of fun starting this Sunday, June 3, and continuing full speed until the Associates Breakfast on June 10 before the actual Battle of Bunker Hill Parade.
Associates President Kim Mahoney said they will be conducting all of the same activities as they have in the past, but they have added some twists – especially to honor veterans.
“There’s a lot going on; it’s action packed, but we are so excited about it,” she said. “There will be great events all week long. I’m excited to be president this year. It brings back a lot of memories from when I was a kid growing up in Charlestown. I hope that friends new and old will come out and participate in all the events because they are a great tradition here. It’s a special time for our Town. Our Town shines during this week.”
Mahoney said in recent years, they have not only honored the Battle of Bunker Hill, but also veterans who have served, and some who have died, from Charlestown.
This year, as part of the week’s activities on Friday, they will dedicate hero squares at 4 p.m. Gene Doe will be honored at the corner of N. Mead Street and Bunker Hill Street, and Jack Kelly Sr. will be honored at Grant Court and N. Mead Street.
Doe served in both the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam war, completing 468 parachute jumps during his career. He served three tours in Vietnam and was wounded 10 times.
Kelly Sr. was a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and is an ex-POW.
Beyond that, retired Lt. Col. John F. Collier will be the keynote speaker at the June 10 Associate’s Breakfast. Collier enjoyed a very full military career. Included among his awards and decorations are: The Silver Star for Gallantry, Two awards of the Bronze Star, Four awards for the Army Commendation Medal, The Purple Heart, The Air Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.
“This week is made more special by honoring veterans for their sacrifices they made and continue to make,” said Mahoney. “What was instilled in most of us growing up here was pride in Charlestown and pride in Bunker Hill Day. It’s our special day. It’s a day when we can honor those who served as well. We are a very Patriotic Town and want to remain that way.”
As for the events, the kick-off event is Sunday, June 3, at 10 a.m. when the Charlestown Mothers Association hosts the Touch A Truck event in the Bunker Hill Community College parking lot.
Monday will feature the CHAD March starting at 6 p.m. at the Police Station, 255 Medford St.
On Tuesday, June 5, Councilor Lydia Edwards will collaborate with the Associates to host her first Peter Looney Night at Peter Looney Park, 6 p.m.
“We’ll all be there to support her and remember Peter Looney,” said Mahoney. “Peter did so much for the Town, and this is the fourth year we’ve done that.”
On Wednesday, June 6, Mayor Martin Walsh will host the annual Senior Citizen Luncheon at the Charlestown Knights of Columbus, 11 a.m.
Later that night will be what many agree is the most fun event of the week – the Associates Family Feud.
“We’re very excited because we have the largest number of teams we’ve ever had in the contest – with 25 teams right now,” she said. “Also, Karson Tager of KISS 108 is hosting, which is new. He jumped right on.”
On Thursday, at 2 p.m., the Zelma Lacey House will host an ice cream social. Then, at 7 p.m., the Peter Looney Concert sponsored by the Associates and Mayor Walsh will take place. This year, Mahoney said they have combined it with the Chief Marshal’s Block Party that took place last year. So, it will be a family night with the concert and Chief Marshal Jack Tkachuk contributing to the family fun.
Also, Mahoney said they have really beefed up the concert at Eden Street Park, bringing back the traditional Irish music and dancing.
“It was always an Irish band in the old days,” she said. “It was a big family night and so much fun. This year, in that tradition, we’ll have the Irish band Erin Og playing and the Goulding School of Irish Step Dance will perform.”
There will also be face painting, free ice cream by the Boston Police, free pizza, balloons and other treats – much of which is provided by Chief Marshal Tkachuk.
On Friday, there will be the Bunker Hill Flag raising outside City Hall at noon on Congress Street. The Veterans Square dedications in conjunction with the Abraham Lincoln Post and the American Legion Post are slated for 4 p.m., and then the Chief Marshal’s Night Before Banquet will take place at 7 p.m. in the Knights of Columbus.
Saturday, June 9, will feature the Edna Kelly’s Doll Carriage Parade at the Eden Street Park, 10 a.m. – one of the oldest and most cherished events of the week. The Business Association Street Fair at the Bunker Hill Mall will start at 9 a.m. and run most of the day.
At 6 p.m., the Concert on the Monument will take place.
Sunday, of course, is the big day and the final event for the Associates, when they kick off their breakfast at 8:30 a.m. in the Knights of Columbus Hall. There, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Collier will speak and share his amazing story.
The Boys & Girls Club Bunker Hill 5K will start at the organization’s High Street building at 10:30 a.m. Runner can register at BGCB.org or at the Club.
And certainly not to be forgotten is the reason for all the week of fun – the Battle of Bunker Hill Day Parade, which kicks off from Hayes Square at 12:30 p.m.