Excitement builds before the parade's start in 2016. File photo: Denise Civiletti

It was a perfect evening for a parade and carnival:  perfect temperatures under clear skies, a soft breeze moving the not-too-humid air around enough to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Residents of all ages, races and ethnicities took advantage of the idyllic setting, lining Main Road for almost an hour before the parade began — some waving flags, others eating and drinking, all were smiling and laughing, chatting with friends and neighbors as they waited for the big parade to begin. Children craned their necks to peer up the road as the first flashing read and white lights on the horizon signaled the parade had stepped off. And the 61st annual Jamesport Fire Department parade was underway.

Jamesport Fire Department charter member “Whiskers” Stanley Zaweski was the grand marshal of this year’s parade, riding the lead car ahead of 60-year member Dan Kaelin and 50-year members Chicky Chicanowicz and Ray Janis.

Following Jamesport’s members and apparatus down the road were members of the volunteer fire departments from Riverhead, Mattituck, Cutchogue, Southold, Wading River, Flanders, Eastport and such far-flung places as East Moriches and North Sea.

The carnival, featuring rides, midway games, a dunk tank, games of chance, and food vendors, continues tonight through Saturday night, when a spectacular fireworks show will light up the Jamesport skies. For more information, click here.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.