CHATHAM, NJ - Longtime Chatham resident Jeff Davis has been selected as the Grand Marshal for the Chatham Fire Department's 63d annual Fourth of July Parade, according to parade chairman Jeffrey Fricke, the deputy fire chief.
“It's an honor, truly an honor," Davis said. "Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine being a Grand Marshal in Chatham’s Fourth of July Parade. I grew up watching this parade on Washington Avenue as a kid and Main Street as an adult.”
Jeff and Debbie Davis and Specialized Auto Craft have been in business for 44 years on Ogden Street.
“Jeff Davis has contributed to the Chatham Fire department in numerous ways, where a price tag would be impossible to estimate,” Doug Allan, Chatham Borough Fire Chief, said. “Having Jeff Davis as Grand Marshal of this year’s Fourth of July Parade is a small way of saying thank you to a man who has saved our fire department tens of thousands of dollars by the work he has performed on our behalf."
Davis has detailed Chatham Fire Department apparatus prior to the Fourth of July Parade for many years, installed reflective chevron striping on the back of the fire trucks, painted vehicles when scratched at no cost to the Borough, adopted a fire hydrant in front of his shop and kept it clear of snow and painted it each year prior to the Fourth of July.
He and his wife also donated a K-9 and Cat resuscitation kit to the Chatham Fire Department several years ago for use when a pet is overcome by smoke.
Asked why he does what he does, Davis responded “Because it’s my home town. When you live and work in a small town you need to give back.”
Fricke has formally announced the details of this year’s Fourth of July festivities. The Chatham Fire Department Association will once again host the annual parade and the fireworks display.
The day will begin with the flag raising and fire department inspection at 9:15 a.m. at the Borough Firehouse with the parade procession starting promptly thereafter. Beginning at 10:30 a.m. sharp, the parade will start at the intersection of Hillside Avenue and Main Street and will continue down Main Street towards Chatham Middle School. This year’s 60-plus unit parade features 10 bands, nine fire departments, and numerous community organizations.
The Chatham Borough Police Department (CBPD) has noted that Main Street (Route 124) will be closed from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. during the parade and is now advising the public to plan alternate routes to avoid delays.
The Fourth of July Parade will happen rain or shine, but the rain date for the fireworks only will be July 5 at the same time (9:30 p.m. or dark).
Fireworks Display & Entertainment
This year’s fireworks will take place at the Chatham Middle School Field. The field is located at 480 Main Street in Chatham Borough and the fireworks will begin around 9:30 p.m. or dark. However, the gates will open at 7 p.m. and the public is invited to enjoy some musical entertainment prior to the fireworks. South Jersey’s premier vintage rock and soul band- The Bob Campanell Band - will be traveling straight from the south Jersey Shore to perform for the second Fourth of July in a row. After the performance, the 2017 fireworks will be set off by World Champion Santore Brothers of Garden State Fireworks of Millington.