Biggest Parade Ever Set For the Fire Department’s Bicentennial Celebration

RIDIN HIGH: Larry DaVola, left, an employee of Princeton University, and his son, Alan, will be atop their hi-wheelers in the Fire Department Bicentennial parade on Saturday.

Town Topics
10 May, 1988 (~estimated)

Biggest Parade Ever Set For the Fire Department’s Bicentennial Celebration
Myrna K. Bearse

What Is being billed as the biggest, grandest parade Princeton has ever seen is set for Saturday, when the Princeton Fire Department celebrates its Bicentennial. The parade will close Nassau Street from 11:15 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m.Traffic will be detoured.

It was on February 11, 1788, that the citizens of Princeton met at the Sign of the College (Nassau Inn) and formed their own fire company. By 1800, they had put together a complement of one engine, three axes, and 35 leather buckets on poles.

Today, there are five engines, one ladder truck, one mini-pumper, ten thousand feet of hose, 20 axes, and two power saws. There are however, no leather buckets on poles.

Since 1788, the Princeton Fire Department has been run by volunteer. It is these volunteers — present and past —whom the events on Saturday will honor.

A full day’s activities are planned — rain or shine — beginning with the parade at 11:30. This will start at University Place and Nassau Street, continue doom Nassau, torn left at Harrison Street, and conclude at Grover Park, behind the Princeton Shopping Center. The reviewing stand will be in front of Princeton Hook & Ladder, on North Harrison Street, Princeton’s first fire company.

There will be food and entertainment at the park beginning at 1 p.m. Food vendors from about 17 area restaurants will • be there, and the edibles will range from cotton candy to cheese steaks to gelato. Fifteen minutes of fireworks at about 8:15 p.m. will rap the proceedings.

Providing entertainment will be the Princeton High School Studio Band, Juggler Jerry Rowan, the Steve Luker Fire Safety Magic Show, the Skin! and Bun. and Company comedy Oct and Creative Theatre.

The parade, to be led by Dr. Frank Field, honorary grand marshal, will feature more than 80 rum companies, rust-aid squads, drum and bugle corps, and antique car clubs. Both antique and modern firefighting equipment will be on review.

The parade’s three actual grand marshals have, among  them, 169 yearsolservice to the Department. They are Ales Duthie, a 50-year volunteer; Earl Wilbur, with 59 years of ‘ service, and James Pace, who has been a Princeton volunteer firefighter for via decades.

Among the companies scheduled to be in the parade are those from Pennington, Plains-boro, Montgomery,  East Brunswick, Bay Head, Hamilton, Hightstown, Lawrence, Hopewell, and Little Rocky Hill.

Parking will be available at the back of the University fete fields in West Windsor. Access will be from the section of Harrison Street which must be reached from Route 1.

Shuttle Bus. There will be a continuous loop made by shuttle buses from about 10 a.m. until the end of the parade. cost is fifty cents per person. The loop will begin at the parking area on the fete grounds and continue on to Faculty Road, Alexander Road, Mercer Street, Nassau Street, Bayard Lane, Paul Robeson Place, Witherspoon Street, Valley Road, North Harrison Street, Route 206, Nassau Street, and back to the fields.

Following the parade, until the end of the evening shuttle buses will stop at the regular bus stops along Nassau Street and transport people to Grover Park.

For out-of-towners planning to come in for the parade, parking will be available at the gravel lot at the Princeton Junction train station. The Dinky will run continuously from 10,30 to 12 and 4 to 6.

Special commemorative tickets will be issued for the day.

University Place and Dickinson Street will be closed from 8 a.m. to the end of the parade.

Parade Committee Chairman Mark Freda said delays and congestion should be expected, and advised people to plan shopping and errands early in the day, before the parade starts. Residents on streets along the parade route should plan to have their cars on other side streets during the parade.

Roads Closed for Firemen’s Parade

When 1200 marchers, 196 vehicles and ID bands gather in town on Saturday to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Princeton Fire Department, they are going to need traffic-free streets for their parade. Police will seal off access to Princeton for the estimated four to five hours it will take for the-participants to march from University Place (starting at 11:30) down Nassau Street to Harrison Street, where they will turn left and head toward Grover Park for festivals and fireworks.

In the Township, Harrison Street will be closed from Franklin Avenue to Terhune Street. The south entrance and exit to Princeton Shopping Center will be closed; the only access will be via the north entrance opposite Valley Road. Access from Clearview and Franklin avenues to Harrison Street will be blocked off.

Those coming south from Kingston will find Route 27 (Nassau Street) closed at Snowden Lane. Alternate routes will direct traffic right on Snowden onto Van Dyke Road or left on Riverside Drive and right on Prospect Avenue for thine heading toward Route 1 and the malls.

Washington Road will be blocked off at Faculty Road. Drivers coming into Princeton will either have to turn right onto Faculty to Harrison Street or left onto Faculty to Alexander Road.

In the Borough, Nassau Street will be closed to all traffic from Mercer Street to Snowden Lane and Riverside Drive.


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