WILI Boom Box Parade Marches On Despite Rain

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The steps were soggy, but the famous Fourth of July Boom Box Parade forged ahead in Willimantic for the 29th year.

Main Street was mainly filled for the Independence Day tradition that got its name because, when it started, the town had no marching bands to play music, so instead, radio station WILI asked people to take their boom boxes out on the parade route and blast music.

“I’ve been doing this for 28 of the 29 years,” said Bob Burns of Windham, who was decked in full UConn regalia. Burns was celebrating the Fourth and the dual Husky basketball championships.

Among the marchers were U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Gov. Dan Malloy and and U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney.

“The Boom Box Parade is the signature event of Eastern Connecticut,” Rep. Courtney said.

Despite the rain, parade organizers say the patriotic spirit wasn’t damped.

“Our founding fathers had no problem marching in the snow or rain,” said Charlie Olbrias, this year’s parade director. “We don’t care about the rain. We care about having a great time and celebrating.”

According to parade organizers, about 3,000 people still lined the streets to watch and cheer.


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