In-person Shelton Derby Memorial Day parade a 'go'

The Mattatuck Drum Band from Waterbury marches in the Derby Shelton Memorial Day Parade on the Derby-Shelton Bridge in Derby, Conn. on Monday, May 27, 2019.

The Mattatuck Drum Band from Waterbury marches in the Derby Shelton Memorial Day Parade on the Derby-Shelton Bridge in Derby, Conn. on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — The Memorial Day parade will be marching through Shelton and Derby on May 31 in person this year.

The Derby-Shelton Memorial Day Parade Committee announced this week that the parade will be held this year — and spectators are invited. The official parade was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

“We are so excited we get this chance to honor those who served our country and those who gave their lives for us,” said committee member and city Fire Marshal James Tortora.

Tortora said more than a dozen organizations, including the city fire departments, scouting groups and athletic teams, have already stated their intention to participate. Tortora said the parade usually features some 80 groups marching.

Tortora said the committee usually begins parade planning in December at the earliest, but the uncertainty regarding rules about gatherings caused by the pandemic delayed the process. Tortora said with the parade date now set, the committee is calling all interested groups who want to participate.

The parade will begin at 9 a.m. May 31 on Howe Avenue at Exit 14. Groups will be asked to organize at a designated location by 8:30 a.m. The parade will then proceed through Shelton, over the Derby-Shelton Bridge and into downtown Derby.

Tortora said the committee expects to hold its annual ceremonial dropping of the wreath at the center of the bridge. The bridge will be under construction at the time, Tortora said, but he expects that there will be access to the usual “throwing point.”

Spectators will be asked to maintain social distancing and wear masks as well as follow any other guidance from the state of Connecticut.

The cancellation of the parade last year included postponement of the Memorial Day service normally held at Shelton Intermediate School several days beforehand.

The parade website states all families of veterans who died since Memorial Day of 2019 will be invited to attend this years' service.

For more information, visit derbysheltonparade.org. If interested in participating in the parade, call Tortora at 203-924-1555 x1340.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com