CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Borough will be honoring its First Responders with a zig-zag route through borough streets, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday on the Fourth of July.

Chatham Borough Mayor Thaddeus Kobylarz was able to revive Chatham's Independence Day tradition after receiving a letter from 12-year-old resident Emma Zapata (see below).

The drive-by event will allow for social distancing during the ongoing pandemic since residents can watch the event from their front lawns. Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill will ride in one of the fire engines along with honorary Grand Marshal Zapata.

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"I want to emphasize that the main focus of this "alternative parade" is to show gratitude to Chatham's first responders and frontline medical care workers," Kobylarz said. "The coronavirus pandemic has made this a difficult year for all of us. Emma's call to revive the parade has provided the Borough with a vehicle for raising the spirits of a great many of our residents.

"The fact that we will be having this, after all, is, I believe, a demonstration of this community's resilience and determination to carry on in the face of adversity. But most importantly, it is a way for all of us to say "thank you" to a group of true heroes amongst us - our first responders and frontline medical care workers. 

The annual Chatham Borough Fire Department Fourth of July Parade had been canceled in May due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But an alternate drive-by parade was announced on June 22 by Mayor Kobylarz, who read aloud a letter he had received from the Chatham Middle School 7th Grader.

See Maps of the Parade Route below