One year ago, Battle of Bunker Hill Parade organizer Arthur Hurley delivered the frustrating news that the time-honored Parade was going to be cancelled due to COVID-19 and the City’s unwillingness not to issue a permit.
However, the 2021 entry into the history of the Parade was going to be the biggest and best seen since the 1975 Bicentennial. Everyone agreed it had to be special, as Bunker Hill Parades don’t get cancelled.
This week, inconceivably, Hurley announced that the Battle of Bunker Hill Day Parade was again going to have to be cancelled.
No official 2020 Parade and no official 2021 Parade.
“We have to cancel the Parade again,” he said on Tuesday. “A lot of the bands aren’t functioning this year. Those that are only function at reduced numbers. There are a whole lot of people that can’t participate that normally would – probably including the military. It’s up and down through the lines and a lot of people wouldn’t come out to watch it anyway. Also, we have no guarantee that the City of Boston will give us a permit. It’s all a little too early I guess.”
Two months from this week would have been Parade Day, June 13 – the Sunday preceding June 17. It will be the second straight year that no official procession will be seen going up and down Bunker Hill Street, around Main Street and into the Training Field in mid-June.
Hurley said he hopes that next year can be the blockbuster, and he also said he couldn’t believe that COVID-19 has lingered this long to eliminate two years’ worth of Parades.
“Hopefully next year,” he said. “A year ago I said we’d have a big Parade next year and now it’s next year and I’m here saying that next year we’ll have to have it bigger and better.”
Already the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade was cancelled, and the Dorchester Day Parade one week before Bunker Hill has also been cancelled. The Pride Parade in Boston, which is usually the same day as Bunker Hill, was cancelled two months ago. So, Hurley said he had held out to see if things might take a quick change, but it hasn’t happened yet and this week was the time to make the cancellation official.
One of the biggest issues comes from the bands, most of which haven’t been functioning for more than a year. Because bands make most of their money to operate via marching in Parades, there has been a drop-off in revenue for most bands as they haven’t marched in more than a year.
It is, of course, the biggest downer that can happen in Charlestown – the cancellation of a time-honored tradition that has rarely been cancelled in its long, long history.
“It’s a lot of work for getting cancelled on you,” said Hurley.