Attention Readers
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, C & G Newspapers has temporarily suspended its print publications. We look forward to resuming our print operation in the coming weeks. In the meantime, continue to find local news on our website and look for us on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you stay healthy and safe.
 Despite the hot sun, the crowd takes in the parade near 11 Mile Road.

Despite the hot sun, the crowd takes in the parade near 11 Mile Road.

Photos by Donna Agusti


St. Clair Shores Memorial Day parade marches on despite warm weather

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 29, 2018

 Special guest Olympic ice skater Nancy Kerrigan rides in the 66th annual St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade.

Special guest Olympic ice skater Nancy Kerrigan rides in the 66th annual St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade.

 John Stormzand and Paul Palazollo, members of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 9, participate in the parade.

John Stormzand and Paul Palazollo, members of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 9, participate in the parade.

 Josie Borek, 4, and Mark Borek, 6, of Grosse Pointe Woods, along with Ania Elsey, 10, of St. Clair Shores, show their patriotic sides during the parade.

Josie Borek, 4, and Mark Borek, 6, of Grosse Pointe Woods, along with Ania Elsey, 10, of St. Clair Shores, show their patriotic sides during the parade.

 The Willow Run Rosie the Riveter Drill Team marches in the parade May 27.

The Willow Run Rosie the Riveter Drill Team marches in the parade May 27.

Advertisement

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Temperatures far above seasonal averages didn’t melt the excitement of residents and visitors as the St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade marched along Harper Avenue May 27.

With honored veterans, classic cars, bands, Sc outs, special guests and more, there was something for everyone to enjoy during the 66th marching of the parade.

An Air Force veteran from the Korean War, Robert Plotzke, of Lenox Township, said that his wife loves coming to see the parade.

“I just love watching cars,” he said. 

Tom Zontini, of St. Clair Shores, said that his brother lives on Jefferson Avenue, so they always have a party for the parade during the years that it marches down that street. This year, he said, it’s more mellow.

“It’s good for families and kids. I like to see little kids enjoy themselves,” he said. “You got to appreciate everybody who fought for us. 

“I’m one of those ones who appreciate their service, everything they’ve done for us.”

Parade grand marshal Vito “Bill” Pellegrino had friends and family come to watch him in the parade from as far away as California and Boston.

“We’re very honored and so is he,” said Anne Cherry, one of Pellegrino’s seven children, who came to the parade from Boston. 

The Pellegrinos were passing out photo “heads” of the World War II veteran made from his military portrait so that parade-goers could show their support as he made his way along the parade route. 

“It’s important to have a remembrance of the veterans and what they have given to the country,” said Cherry. “Those  generations, you don’t want to forget.”

Parade Committee Entry Chair Dave Rubello said that everything came together to make for a great event.

“The support from the community was incredible. The crowd was incredible. The respect for our veterans — people were clapping for them, on their feet, the veterans were just humbled,” he said May 29. “Our special guests, Mickey Lolich and Mickey Stanley, were just overcome by the amount of people that came. They couldn’t believe it.

“And Nancy Kerrigan, she was incredible with the people and interacted with them and took pictures and signed autographs, and was just so accommodating and sweet. She was very impressed with our town and how we treated her.”

Rubello said he thought the crowd was among the biggest to turn out for the parade, and police estimated a crowd of 85,000-90,000 people.

Different businesses along Harper Avenue offered their lawns for clients and customers to relax and watch the parade, and some offered refreshments for visitors as well. 

In front of Re/Max First, Marsha Cohen, of St. Clair Shores, and her co-workers were offering hot dogs and drinks in exchange for donations to the Children’s Miracle Network. 

“We’re part of the neighborhood,” she said. She said she enjoyed supporting the veterans, especially with a relative serving in the military. “My granddaughter is Army Reserve, so it’s very emotional for me right now.”

With the department’s newest fire engine and ambulance in the parade, as well as a “tremendous turnout” from off-duty firefighters and their families, Fire Chief James Piper said he enjoyed his first Memorial Day Parade in the city.

“It’s a gorgeous, huge parade,” he said. “I love it.”

People young and old enjoyed the parade, including 9-year-old Cody Morgan, of St. Clair Shores. 

“It’s pretty cool because they throw candy (and) we got a Frisbee,” he said. 

Tim Johnson, of St. Clair Shores, a volunteer with The Woods Church, carried the parade sign down the entire route.

“(It was) pretty packed the whole way,” he said. “Everyone having a good time, trying to stay cool.”

Other highlights of the parade included historical military vehicles from the Detroit Arsenal of Democracy — “It was a small invasion force, they had so much stuff out,” Rubello quipped — and the appearance by Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.

“It was chilling watching somebody like that at the Civic Arena. What a way to end the night,” Rubello said.

Kerrigan skated with children at St. Clair Shores Civic Arena after appearing in the parade, and, along with giving autographs and showing off some of her moves honed from decades on ice, she also helped the local children learn new skating skills, he said. 

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go skate with an Olympic champion,” Rubello said.

Advertisement