Large turnout expected at returning Derby-Shelton parade

SHELTON — The Memorial Day parade makes its in-person return through the streets of Shelton and Derby Monday.

The parade will begin at 9 a.m., rain or shine on Howe Avenue at Exit 14. Marchers will proceed through Shelton, over the Derby-Shelton Bridge and into downtown Derby.

There will be a military flyover about 9:30 a.m.

Guy Beardsley of the Huntington VFW Post 10466 and owner of Beardsley Farms in Shelton will be the grand marshal for the parade, the theme for which is “Lest We Forget.”

Chief of Staff will be Robert Araujo, board president at the Huntington Fire Co. No. 3, former Fire Commissioner and former deputy fire marshal.

Derby-Shelton Memorial Day Parade Committee member James Tortora said the parade will stop for a short service to honor the fallen in the middle of the Shelton Derby bridge that connects the two towns.

Among those returning are the Pyramid Temple Shriners, driving the ever-popular miniature cars and motorcycles.

Overall, Tortora said, some 75 percent of the organizations normally involved are returning after the pandemic-forced hiatus. The parade will have eight divisions featuring five bands and musical organizations, all five of the volunteer fire companies representing Shelton and Derby, and numerous boy and girl scouting groups.

Tortora said an estimated 500 participants will be marching in the parade.

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 because of the pandemic 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.

Service organizer Michelle Laskowski said the service will be honoring the 293 veterans who have died since May 15, 2019. The service will be livestreamed beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday. There is no direct link, so viewers should search Derby Shelton Memorial Service on YouTube.

American Legion Post 16 spent this past week placing flags on veteran's graves in Shelton.

Post 16 will be conducting Memorial Day services on Monday at 7 a.m. at White Hills Fire Company, 7:30 a.m. at Shelton Police headquarters, and Veterans Park on The River Walk at 8 a.m. before taking part in the parade.

After the parade, Post 16 will be holding an 11 a.m. ceremony at its headquarters, 295 Old Bridgeport Ave. For more information, visit derbysheltonparade.org.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com