For the second year in a row, the abundance of piping plovers and their nests on Duxbury Beach have forced the cancellation of the annual July 4th party and bonfire.
Fourth of July Committee member Jamie MacNab made this announcement Monday night at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting. The party had been scheduled for Saturday, July 5.
“Once again we’ve had to cancel the beach party,” said MacNab. “We’re very discouraged by the whole thing.”
Currently, there are a record 25 piping plover nests on the beach, which has caused the town to close certain areas to protect the endangered shore birds, their nests and chicks. Last year, the 17 nesting pairs of plovers forced both the closure of the entire off-road vehicle area and the cancellation of the bonfire and beach party.
MacNab said the committee decided not to have the party off-site like last year when it was held at Train Field because he said “it didn’t go well.” The bonfire is the big draw and without that, it didn’t make sense to use funds for a party that not many people attend, he added.
The committee is considering holding the party and bonfire on another date, perhaps over Labor Day weekend, but this wouldn’t happen until next year and it would be a smaller event. MacNab said the committee wants the public’s opinion on this idea and can be contacted through its Web site.
“We’ll have to look for another time for the event. I think that is the key,” MacNab told the selectmen. “We’ll toss it around and come back to you next February with something solid.”
Selectmen Chairman Shawn Dahlen said changing the date made sense because piping plovers come back every year to nest in the same places, which doesn’t leave much room on the beach for a party and bonfire.
“I have a sneaking suspicion that the beach party is going to be a tough thing every year from this point on because the places where the plovers have been nesting have been very consistent for the last few years,” said Dahlen.
Despite the party’s cancellation, the Fourth of July Committee is very excited about the annual parade and other events surrounding the nation’s birthday celebration, such as the South Shore Bay Band concert on the front lawn of the Senior Center Sunday, July 6.
"We're really looking forward to the July 4th parade,” MacNab said. “We’ve put our heart and soul into that and it’s going to be a great event.”
The parade starts at Hall’s Corner at 2 p.m. and ends at the schools around 4 p.m. Former town clerk Nancy Oates has been named as the 2014 parade marshal.
There are many bands, antique cars and other acts in the parade this year but the committee is still looking for more floats entered by the public. There are cash prizes given to winners and other entries in all categories of parade floats.
The committee is also cautioning parents of young children to keep them along the sides of the roads for safety, especially in and around Hall’s Corner, and also asking them not to buy or use Silly String and poppers.
“The Silly String takes the paint off the antique cars and the poppers scare the horses,” said MacNab, adding that the committee asks the parade route toy vendors not to sell these items every year, but they cannot forbid the sales of these items.
The Fourth of July committee is always looking for more volunteers to work on the parade and really needs more donations as well, said member Margaret Kearney. More information can be found on the committee’s website.