Monday, May 19, 2008

Nobody's gonna rain on my (Jibboom Club) parade

One thing I have noticed about New London is that New London seems to love parades. Never mind that the parades tend to last about three blocks/twenty minutes, sometimes aren't advertised, and occasionally get delayed due to the fact that the parade planner didn't check the Amtrak schedule and has to wait to cross the train tracks. We still heart parades.

Yesterday (Saturday) was a prime example of a New London parade - the Jibboom Club Parade. What is the Jibboom Club, you ask? Allow me to enlighten you with a bit of background from the New London Main Street events page:

"Jibboom Club No. 1 was a social club made up mostly of retired whalers and other merchant seamen here in New London during the last quarter of the nineteenth-century and the first half of the twentieth. Once a year they would parade through the city, towing a retired whaleboat and dressed as King Neptune and his minions. They would march to City Hall where the mayor would distribute cigars, then proceed "around the horn" (around the Soldiers and Sailors monument) before returning to their club rooms on Bank Street for a party featuring chowder."

The Jibboom Club parade of today is not quite as spectacular as it was in the old days. However, certain dedicated townfolk including my good friend Kevin Doyle and local theater group Flock Theatre are trying to restore the parade to it's former glory. Apparently the parade used to end with the Jibboomers harpooning a papier-mâché whale, complete with buckets of fake blood. Hope is high that the 2009 parade will bring with it the return of the whale. Until then, I am fairly content to watch Doyle dress up and march down the street smoking a cigar.

Some pictures for your enjoyment:

Pipes and drums announce the arrival of the Jibboomers

Doyle looks pretty dapper, doesn't he?

The Jibboomers with their boat, receiving cigars from the mayor

Keeping the tradition alive with Dr. Mark and Doyle

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