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Every summer, my parents brought us to Chatham, Mass. for the most patriotic day of the year – Independence Day. And let me tell you, there is NOTHING like the Fourth of July in Chatham.
The town goes all-out with an seriously American celebration and parade and as time goes on, brands like Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer have literally joined the parade and hand out exclusive swag only available on the 4th in Chatham.
If you’re heading to Cape Cod this Fourth of July week, make your way over to Chatham that morning for a party full of stars and stripes.
When to arrive:
The Parade starts at 9:30 from the far east end of Main Street. Main Street is closed starting around 8:30 at some ends and fully closing at 8:45 at the end of the route. Chatham is actually in the east corner of two main roads connecting, so literally everyone is driving into town from the same direction that morning. To make your life as easy as possible, plan to arrive into town around 7:30/7:45. All of the restaurants and many shops open early that morning, so you’ll be able to grab a coffee and breakfast and find a great viewing spot.
What to bring:
Check the weather! A light blanket to sit on can double as a blanket to keep you warm if the weather is cool. There are plenty of curbs, stoops, walls and grassy patches to perch on during the parade, so don’t feel like you need a chair. Plus, you’ll want to hang out in town after the parade.
Where to park:
There are a few churches around Old Harbor Road that offer parking. Otherwise, check around the Chatham Community Center, Seaview Street, Bars Avenue and West of downtown off Route 28. You
may will have to walk, so bring a stroller if you need it. The town provides more information here.
What to expect:
It’s a loud parade with cannons, muskets, sirens and horns. Your babies and toddlers may be frightened if you’re not ready for it. So moms and dads, watch the parade marchers because they will generally tell everyone to get ready and cover ears before they let ‘er blow!
For the older kids and adults, there is a lot of swag thrown from the parade! Be ready to snag some fun prizes. The whole thing lasts about 90 minutes.
If you need to use the rest rooms… there are town public restrooms downtown. One is on the south side of Main Street toward the west end of town. The second is in the park by the band gazebo.
What to wear:
Check the weather! I have experienced high 40s/low 50s and literally been bundled up, I have experienced rain and I have been there when it’s so hot you’re dying for shade. We generally wear something for warn weather and layer on a light sweater or jacket. A hat and sunnies are helpful too. Check out my post about my outfits this Fourth of July!