In 1986, Windham, Conn., couldn’t find marching bands for its Fourth of July parade. Rather than cancel the festivities, the town of 22,000 held its first “Boom Box Parade.” Participants carried radios tuned to the local station, WILI, which broadcast patriotic tunes during the parade.
It’s a wacky tradition, but Windham residents have marched to the beat of a different drummer for years. One evening in 1754, the villagers heard a terrible sound they thought was an Indian attack. They grabbed guns, marched in the direction of the noise and found the culprits: battling bullfrogs. Hundreds were dead, and the survivors were heading toward the Willimantic River. Why? No one knows for sure. According to one theory, the bullfrogs were fighting for territory after a drought. From that day on, however, the frogs were the town mascot.
Anyone can march in the two-thirds-mile-long Boom Box Parade. There’s even a “baby-boomers unit” for parents pushing strollers. The only requirement is to wear red, white and blue; bring a radio tuned to 1400 AM; and line up between 9 and 10:30 a.m. in the Jillson Square parking lot, across from the Frog Bridge. The parade starts at 11 a.m. No entry fee or preregistration. http://www.wili-am.com/parade.htm