Frontline workers honored in Better Days Ahead Parade

May 21, 2020 by

Published May 20, 2020

SIBLINGS Kaylee and Michael Barrett were honored to recognize frontline workers and essential workers during the Better Days Ahead Parade on Saturday, May 16. (Courtesy Photo)

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — Under a clear blue sky and with temperatures in the low 70s, over a thousand residents came together to celebrate essential workers during the Better Days Ahead Parade on Saturday, May 16.

Selectman Chris Barrett and local residents Gerry Noumi and Joel Steiner organized the parade, which was inspired by ongoing birthday parades as well as the elementary schools’ parades that occurred in early April. The parade featured 100 cars, including police cruisers and fire apparatus, while 1,000 spectators stood along the route.

“It was quite moving,” said Noumi. “It was amazing seeing all of the town’s fire and police representation, and it was amazing to see so many people standing along the parade route smiling.”

Steiner agreed.

“It was incredible,” said Steiner. “Just seeing all of the smiling faces and people waving was great. It was amazing to see the community come together to celebrate all of the essential workers. It was very touching. My face hurt from smiling so much. It was awesome to be apart of it. It worked out better than I imagined.”

Barrett said he was “beyond impressed” with the Better Days Ahead Parade’s turnout.

FOURTH-GRADER Michael Barrett holds a flag outside of the window of his parents’ SUV while recognizing frontline and essential workers during the Better Days Ahead Parade on Saturday, May 16. (Courtesy Photo)

“It was great seeing so much joy and happiness along the parade route,” said Barrett. “It was fantastic seeing the community come together to celebrate our frontline workers and our essential workers.”

While there were originally 50 cars that lined up at Lynnfield Middle School for the start of the parade, Noumi said another 50 cars joined in with the fun over the course of the hour-long event.

“It was pretty awesome,” said Steiner.

Noumi said a number of residents held signs recognizing frontline and essential workers along the parade route, including a woman who stood on Lowell Street while holding a sign that stated, “Stop and Shop frontline worker.”

“I am glad she was able to have this moment,” said Noumi. “We appreciate everything she is doing.”

Steiner said it was rewarding having “the community celebrate all of the frontline workers and essential workers who are putting themselves out there on a daily basis.”

“It was really uplifting,” said Steiner.

Barrett noted there were also residents who held up signs honoring the town’s high school seniors. He said a number of high school students also held signs thanking essential workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

“The amount of signs families and kids were holding was just unbelievable,” said Barrett. “It makes me proud to be from Lynnfield and represent Lynnfield as a selectman.”

Noumi said the cars that participated in the parade were decorated and included messages that thanked first responders, health care professionals and other essential employees. He said one car was wearing a mask.

“It was great seeing all of the different themes of appreciation,” said Noumi. “It was real fun seeing people be creative and laughing.”

“The decorations were great,” Steiner added.

One of the highlights of the Better Days Ahead Parade was the triumphant return of the Easter Lynnfield Bunni, portrayed by Wildewood Drive resident Brian Austin. The popular rabbit, who took the town by storm earlier this spring, showed off his dance moves in the back of a pickup truck throughout the event.

“We reached out to him after the parade got approved and he said absolutely,” said Steiner. “He said he missed the suit. He danced for 45 minutes straight. People lost their minds when they saw him. He was a huge addition to the parade.”

Noumi agreed.

“It was great for the kids,” he said. “I think people got a real kick out of his dance moves.”

Noumi said it was rewarding to help bring some light to the community in a dark time. He enjoyed seeing children smiling throughout the parade, particularly his three kids.

“I really wanted my family and others to have this moment of joy,” said Noumi. “For a few hours on a Saturday, we were able to step away from these challenging times that we are in. It was great seeing so many familiar faces smiling along the route. There was a lot of smiles and a lot of laughter in a time where that is not happening as much as it used to.”

Steiner concurred with Noumi’s sentiment.

“I was blown away when I saw all of the people smiling while I was looking around,” said Steiner. “It was great to be a part of it. The amount of people who came out to support it was overwhelmingly positive.”

Barrett, Noumi and Steiner thanked Police Chief David Breen, Fire Chief Glenn Davis, Town Administrator Rob Dolan, Assistant Town Administrator Bob Curtin, the Board of Selectmen, Lynnfield Recreation Director Julie Mallett and DPW Director John Tomasz for working to help make the Better Days Ahead Parade a huge success.

“It was great working with so many members of the community to put this event together,” said Noumi.

Noumi also thanked Steiner “for coming up with the idea.”

“I was a great concept and he had a great vision for it,” said Noumi.

Barrett commended Noumi and Steiner for diligently working to get the Better Days Ahead Parade off the ground.

“They have repeatedly stepped up and have given back to the community,” said Barrett.

Noumi and Steiner both said they would like to host another parade in the future.

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