Lexington is famous for turning back the clock to honor its history, but on the town’s 300th anniversary, its popular Patriots' Day parade will spring forward and step off Sunday afternoon instead of Monday.
The Board of Selectmen have approved a request to schedule the 2013 Patriots Day afternoon parade for Sunday, April 14, a move made at the recommendation of the 300th Anniversary Celebrations Committee.
Officials said holding the afternoon parade on Sunday should make the parade more accessible to participants coming from places where Patriots' Day is not celebrated as a holiday.
“We forget that Patriots' Day is celebrated in about a 50-mile radius,” said Selectman George Burnell. “It makes sense to attract the kind of participation they’re looking for to move it to Sunday for travel purposes.”
There were some reservations about moving the afternoon parade to Sunday, particularly from Dawn McKenna, chairwoman of the town’s Tourism Committee.
McKenna said she was personally concerned about the economic impact of moving the parade. Without the afternoon parade on Monday, the Patriots' Day festivities become less of a three-day weekend and hotels and restaurants would loose business, she said.
“I believe you’re going to take away the relevance of Patriots' Day,” said McKenna. “Without it, you have the morning re-eneactment and not much else.”
McKenna, a former Town Celebrations Committee member, also questioned the expertise of the 300th Committee, a subcommittee of Town Celebrations.
“The people involved are not the people who have spent the past many, many years putting on Patriots' Day, putting on the parade and planning tourism,” she said.
Selectman Norman Cohen said he had confidence switching the parade to Sunday after the recommendation from Town Celebrations, which he said has members who have been involved for many years.
Cohen also said he has heard residents say they like the idea of having the afternoon parade on Sunday so they can watch the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon.