Willimantic’s Boom Box Parade celebrates 30th year

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WILLIMANTIC  — The Independence Day Boom Box Parade in Willimantic, is celebrating its 30th year.

More than 5,000 participants and spectators lined Main Street on Saturday, carrying radios tuned to WILI-AM, which provided the marching music.

The idea for the parade came in 1986, when organizers of a Memorial Day parade couldn't find a marching band and asked the local radio station to help. The station needed some planning time and agreed instead to provide music for the city's Independence Day parade.

Radio personality Wayne Norman serves as the grand marshal each year.

The parade has been known for its independent spirit. Norman says anyone can show up and march. Participants are just asked to wear some red, white and blue and bring a radio.