by Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter 6/2004 and 6/2008 and 6/2009 in various forms/updates

Founders Day!

The annual day-long celebration of our town’s birthday starts as you drive through Foxboro at 8:45, 9:00, and people are already putting out beach chairs, staking out the best viewing spots. Business owners and employees are opening windows and doors, hovering, getting ready for the event. The police begin closing roads. The crowds thicken. There’s real anticipation in the air. Something special is about to happen.

Founders Day seems to bring everyone out, and there’s that wonderful feeling of community — so present all year anyway — amplified exponentially on this day. Friends and families gather. Teens take advantage of the roadblocks by skating freely in the streets around Foxboro Common. Babies cry. Parents take family pictures. Camera and camcorders are everywhere. Kids run around, laughing.

And then, you hear the fire engine sirens, and another Founders Day parade is under way. The glistening fire engines — both from here and neighboring towns — bring cheers and the children waving from inside bring smiles. The police vehicles do the same.

The days of hard work are evident in so many of the floats.

The kids from the karate school, in full uniform, stride purposely. I’m always somewhat in awe of ten year olds who can seriously injure me. But seriously, the kids look so proud.

There’s the Van-Go and the Senior Center folks. We are so fortunate to have Council on Aging, with Vicki at the helm. There’s the Doolittle Home van. Another Foxboro gem, a wonderful residence where seniors live in dignity. What a treasure Doolittle Home is.

Here are the town Selectmen. I like how they always march every year — their presence in the parade is a nice reminder of our town government working so closely with the people.

There are the Veterans in uniform. Can we ever thank them enough for their sacrifice? (Have you thanked someone you know in the service recently? Do it now.)

Here comes the Civil War society. They fire their weapons and get everyone’s attention. Also impressive.

Each school has a float, and they all show such hard work and creativity. The marching bands go by — it must be very difficult to walk in formation AND play an instrument with such skill, but they make it look easy.

Here are the trolleys — — imagine using them to get around town! Do the kids in Foxboro even realize this was the preferred mode of transportation here years ago?

There are the Girl Scouts. Boy Scouts. Cub Scouts, So much pride coming from those young faces! So much promise and enthusiasm from such little people!

The Jaycees. The Rotary. So many fraternal and community organizations — all so happy to be part of this community, making a difference every day.

Then, seemingly in a blink, the Founders Day committee car goes by. To all of you on that committee — thank you, thank you, and thank you for all your hard work.

Soon it seems that at least half of the town’s population is on the Booth Playground field.

I can see my Jaycee friends are doing great business at concessions and that makes me very happy because I know firsthand the good those proceeds will do throughout Foxboro.

It seems like every organization and club in Foxboro is well represented. It’s a well-worn cliché but Founders Day on Booth Fields truly offers something for everyone. And I must add that the root beer floats made by the National Honor Society are excellent!

There are games, amazing food, kids and parents and teens everywhere, taking it all in.

By 4pm, it seems like the activity is winding down; most tents and kiosks are closing up, the business portion of the day concluded. People are now heading home to parties, gatherings, and many are just trying to get the usual Saturday chores complete before the fireworks.

For me, like so many others, this in-between time is spent packing up, cleaning, putting away, grabbing a quick burger, and then heading back to the field. Passing by the Common, I’m amazed. All of the confetti, silly string, papers, food containers and other debris has been cleaned up. You couldn’t know a parade had even passed by.

At 8:30, the sky is still light and the grass is rapidly being covered with beach chairs and blankets. And let me testify that Rotary hamburgers — always delicious anyway — taste extra good on Founders Day evening.

An hour passes as latecomers seek out a remaining patch of grass to call their own.

The area is filled with the shadows of bodies and the light from Jaycee glow sticks.

And then BOOM! The first firework shell explodes overhead, and the people cheer. Once again, the pyrotechnic display is incredible
, with the speculator colors exploding overhead and the glowing embers floating down so close to us. Forget Boston on the Esplanade — Foxboro is the place to see the best fireworks display. That the show was paid for by Foxboro businesses, organizations and local donations makes it all the more sweet. (By the way, if you can, be sure to keep the donations coming in to pay for next year’s fireworks! The fireworks thermometer on the common, which tracks donations, is only halfway to the top.)

Like the parade, in a seeming heartbeat, the show is over, and we join as one, applauding. Once again Foxboro police keep the exodus orderly, as traffic flows smoothly home.

Another Founders Day has come and gone.

To our police and fire fighters and rescue workers — thank you, once again, for keeping us safe.

To the Founders Day committee — and to everyone who in any way participated in making the day happen — thank you. Your Herculean efforts are so very appreciated.

Founders Day is more than a parade, events, and fireworks. Unlike thousands of parades and events held in Anytown, USAs, Founders Day is uniquely ours. The sense of community that we all feel on this day cannot be denied.

The reason I live here, what I love most about this town — is its sense of family and community. That is never more evident than it is on Founders Day.

For EVERYTHING you need to know about Founders Day including news, sponsors, activities, schedule, images, and more check out the official web site at:

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