Riverhead Fire Department  representatives met with the Town Board yesterday seeking approval of planned parade route that would shut down Route 58 from Mill Road to the traffic circle on Saturday, July 10 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Roanoke Avenue south of the circle to Cranberry Street would also be closed. {sidebar id=2}

Board members agreed to the parade route, in spite of their desire to see the parade on Main Street instead.  New rules of the Suffolk County Drill Team Captains Association prohibit fire department parades from crossing railroad tracks, parade and drill chairman Jim Redmond told the board at its work session. The rules also require the parade route to be at least a mile long. That makes a Main Street parade route impossible, he said.

The fire department hasn’t had a parade like this in 25 years, Redmond said. The last one was held to celebrate the drill team’s 50th anniversary. This year marks the drill team’s 75th anniversary. Dozens of fire departments from all over Suffolk County will participate in the parade, which coincides with the fire department’s annual drill. The drill begins at 9 a.m. that day, on the fire department’s training grounds just east of the armory building on Route 58.

The grand marshals of the parade will be an original member of the motorized drill team, founded in 1935, as well as two members of the 1948 drill team that won the state championship, Redmond said.

Redmond said the fire department has communicated with the businesses along the proposed route and received no objection to the plan. The Riverhead Town Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Peconic Bay Medical Center have also consented to the planned shut-down of Route 58 and alternative access routes for emergency vehicles, he said.

Route 58 traffic will be diverted onto Mill Road in both directions, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on the day of the parade, which starts at 6 p.m.  The parade will last anywhere from one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours, Redmond said, depending upon the number of fire departments participating in it, which is still unknown.

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