Robert serves as grand marshal in 98th Ancients & Horribles parade

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Pete Robert with his 1942 military Jeep, which he renovated. He regularly appears with it in the parade each year and will serve as grand marshal in 2024. NRI NOW photo by Dick Martin

GLOCESTER – This July 4, when Glocester’s 98th Ancients and Horribles parade steped off in Chepachet, the lineup included bands, floats, costumes and more, with Pete Robert to serve as grand marshal.

Robert, a former Army corporal, is a Korean War veteran, who spent 14 months in Korea during the war. He is one of the founding members of the Chapter 3 Korean War Veterans Association, which meets in the Glocester Senior Center. He is a former commander and treasurer of the organization.

Robert was stationed in Korea from January, 1951, until August, 1952. After returning home, he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Rhode Island College and went on to teach industrial arts in North Providence. He taught there for 32 years, the last 20 of which were in guidance.

Robert, 93, pointed out the pins on his Korean War cap, which included a presidential citation and a Korean citation, along with three battle stars.

When asked what it was like in the Korean War, he had a one word answer: “Hell.”

It is not Robert’s first time in the parade. Each year he polishes up his 1942 military Jeep, which he renovated himself, for the trip through town, pulling a military trailer with a small war monument listing local deceased Korean War veterans.

Robert said his family was planning on attending the parade, including his granddaughter Gemma and her husband Patrick McDonald, who is a colonel in the Marines.

Joining him in the annual event were be bands, a military organ, Bristol Fife and Drum, Central Connecticut Ghostbusters, and a special mermaid float, the Kilties bagpipers, Dynamite Rhythm Band, and many others, said Parade Chair Kathy Lamontagne.

“We are getting more entries coming in, which we won’t disclose until the day of the parade,” she said. “Fireworks, vendors, Not Your Average Popcorn, candy vendors and treats….Everyone is very excited.”

Lamontagne later told NRI NOW that the parade will include 7-8 bands, along with floats and other additions. Being an election year, attendees were expecting plenty of political entries, as well those who poke fun at candidates, both nationally and locally.

“We also have a resident here in town who has a trailer with a big giant ant,” added Lamontagne.

This year, visitors had the ability to purchase parade paraphernalia using an app provided by the town. Previously, explained Lamontagne, parade goers who did not have cash were unable to purchase items. This year they were be able to use the app and a credit card for purchases.

“We will have a dedicated iPad which is connected to the town’s system, which the app works off,” explained Lamontagne. “We missed out on so many sales in the past.”

It costs approximately $48,000 to put on the town’s annual July 4 festivities, including the parade and fireworks. Lamontagne explained that the parade committee had already received more than $6,000 in donations, and the town allocates $20,000. The remainder, she said, is obtained through fundraising, including selling Glocester and parade items at the parade, along with a 50/50 raffle fundraiser. Tickets for the 50/50 raffle cost $1.

The parade took place in Chepachet starting at 4 p.m., with certificates to be awarded for most ancient & horrible, most patriotic and best walking group. Everyone was invited to parade their artistic talents and wear their most outlandish outfits. Those who were judged in the parade competition were asked to register at https://www.glocesterri.gov/parade-registration.htm by July 2 or in person at Glocester Town Hall at 1145 Putnam Pike by 4 p.m. on Monday, July 1.

Glocester’s annual road race also took place on Thursday, July 4, starting at 9 a.m. More information can be found on the town website.

Editor’s note: The above article was edited to reflect that the events already took place. Watch for more coverage from the parade on NRI NOW later this week.

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