By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
A fleet of more than 100 boats are expected to set sail and parade across the West Haven seaboard at 1 p.m. June 12 to christen the community’s 100th anniversary.
The West Haven Centennial Boat Parade, presented by the City of West Haven Centennial Celebration Committee, will pay homage to the community’s nautical heritage and 3 miles of publicly accessible beaches on Long Island Sound — the crown jewels of West Haven, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi said.
The parade will follow the city’s coastline from the jetty off Sandy Point in New Haven Harbor to the Oyster River in Baybrook, said West Haven Harbor Master Robert Pimer, who has charted the course for the committee and will help steer the procession.
Rossi is encouraging city residents to descend on the beaches along Beach Street, Captain Thomas Boulevard and Ocean Avenue for a front-row view of the boating spectacle.
“I cannot wait for our residents to witness this one-of-a-kind boat parade along our very shore,” said Rossi, who will join Pimer at the helm aboard his harbor master boat. “This event is a tribute to the enduring history and legacy of West Haven as a true maritime community.”
Organizer and committee member John Biancur said he expects over 100 boats of varying sizes to participate in the free parade, including motorboats, personal watercraft, and sailboats from the Prospect Beach Fish & Game Club and the City Point, Pequonnock, Waucoma and West Haven yacht clubs.
The procession will also include rescue boats from the West Haven, West Shore and City of West Haven Allingtown fire departments.
Biancur pointed out that the parade is not limited to just yacht club members. It is open to all watercraft operators, provided they meet at the West Haven jetty at 1 p.m. and follow the Police Department’s patrol boat throughout the route.
“The committee is reaching out to the boating community to take part in this unique event,” Biancur said. “We are also inviting as many people as possible to come down to our beaches and see our parade.”
Skippers are asked to decorate their boats in patriotic colors, including displaying American, Connecticut or West Haven flags.
The rain date is June 13 at 2 p.m.
Although the parade will celebrate West Haven’s 100th anniversary, the official centennial kickoff ceremony is June 24. Details are forthcoming.
The committee is planning a series of commemorative events to observe the 1921 birth of Connecticut’s youngest town, said Rossi, the honorary chairwoman.