Merrimack Valley Life

How do you hold a socially distant holiday?


Firefighter Ryan Fairbanks received permission from Fire Chief William Laliberty to use a reserve fire truck to bring some joy to the city with an Easter parade. Other fire department volunteers were Richard Wentworth Jr., Timothy Nutter and Gregory Ryan. See more photos on pages 8 and 9. Haverhill Life photo by Alison Colby-Campbell

Firefighter Ryan Fairbanks received permission from Fire Chief William Laliberty to use a reserve fire truck to bring some joy to the city with an Easter parade. Other fire department volunteers were Richard Wentworth Jr., Timothy Nutter and Gregory Ryan. See more photos on pages 8 and 9. Haverhill Life photo by Alison Colby-Campbell

The Haverhill Fire Department played a special role in bringing that special bun­ny to see the children of the city on Easter Sunday while adhering to the social-dis­tancing mandate. “Firefighter Ryan Fair­banks came to me and asked for permis­sion to plan and coordinate an Easter Bunny Parade using a reserve fire truck with firefighters volunteering their time,” explained Fire Chief William Laliber­ty.

“Firefighters Richard Wentworth Jr., Timothy Nutter and Gregory Ryan were the oth­er firefighters who volunteered their time.”

Asked why the fire de­partment be­came the escort for the Easter Bunny, Chief Laliberty said, “The why is to bring smiles to the faces of children and their families in the Haver­hill community at a dreary time filled with anxiety and dreadful thoughts of a virus that has crippled many. It also brought joy to the firefighters, knowing their efforts were an emotionally positive gesture.”

However, after spending the day be­fore Easter at Chris’ Farm Stand, digging around for carrots, the E. Bunny needed a new set of clothes to wear for the pa­rade. Firefighter Brian Sanders called Ozzy’s Kids’ Kristina Hardy to help with that mission. Hardy posted on Facebook and called all over town to find just the right size.

The Easter Bunny had a busy Easter weekend. On Saturday, he waved to Angelina and her mom, Melanie, after looking for carrots at Chris’ Farm Stand. Haverhill Life photos by Alison Colby-Campbellobvious:

The Easter Bunny had a busy Easter weekend. On Saturday, he waved to Angelina and her mom, Melanie, after looking for carrots at Chris’ Farm Stand. Haverhill Life photos by Alison Colby-Campbellobvious:

“We searched around high and low, and finally found the right outfit from Manager Madison at Pizzeria Uno,” said Hardy. “Then we asked the fire depart­The ment if we could join in the fun, and we were allowed to tag along. So, we deco­rated our cars and brought Pikachu, a Minion and Mickey Mouse. Firefighter Fairchild asked if we had any special re­quests for the parade route, and we sug­gested parts of town where a lot of our Ozzy Kids live. And we were able to hit almost every part of Haverhill.”

On Easter Sunday at 11 a.m., the small caravan left the Water Street station with sirens blaring for what they initially be­lieved would be a two-hour tour. Fam­ilies followed the parade progress on a real-time mapping app so they’d know when to be out by the street. Crisscross­ing a city as large as Haverhill and trav­eling at a slow speed so that the Easter Bunny could wave to every child took more than four hours. And everyone felt it was time well spent.

Nola, in her Easter bonnet, popped out of the sunroof to wave as the Easter Bunny traveled down Hilldale Avenue.

Nola, in her Easter bonnet, popped out of the sunroof to wave as the Easter Bunny traveled down Hilldale Avenue.

“The citizens were raving about it,” said Laliberty. “They were telling and showing video clips on Facebook on how happy the children were and how excited the parents were to see the smiles on ev­eryone’s face.”

The chief hinted about future parades. “We need the public to understand that in order for this joyous event to continue they need to maintain social distancing [at least 6 feet from one another], not to gather in large groups, and to wear face­masks within the small groups so as to do their part in flattening the curve during this pandemic. If we can have the public’s cooperation, we can restart these public parades.”

Alison Colby-Campbell writes The Heartbeat of Haverhill because there’s just too much good stuff going on in Haverhill to keep to herself. In her ideal world, animals would be able to talk and people would be kind and compassionate always, and every day would be a good day to meet someone new to profile in a Haverhill Life article.

Phyllis Nault and Lisa Moody (in the passenger seat) decked out the car to see the parade and drive by relatives’ houses.

Phyllis Nault and Lisa Moody (in the passenger seat) decked out the car to see the parade and drive by relatives’ houses.

Comeau family dogs were just as excited about the Easter Bunny as the people were.

Comeau family dogs were just as excited about the Easter Bunny as the people were.

 

 

Shown above: The Fairchild and Willis families camped out in the driveway, waiting for the Easter Bunny to arrive. Families followed the parade progress on a real-time mapping app to figure out when the Bunny would make it to Bradford. Shown left: Damon and his mother, Alicia, were very excited by the fire truck and the Easter Bunny when they arrived at the corner of Washington and High Streets.

Shown above: The Fairchild and Willis families camped out in the driveway, waiting for the Easter Bunny to arrive. Families followed the parade progress on a real-time mapping app to figure out when the Bunny would make it to Bradford. Shown left: Damon and his mother, Alicia, were very excited by the fire truck and the Easter Bunny when they arrived at the corner of Washington and High Streets.

The McKallagat family of Ward Hill tailgated in their driveway for the parade.

The McKallagat family of Ward Hill tailgated in their driveway for the parade.

The parade wasn’t scheduled to go past their house, so the Rubino family parked at Garrison Golf Course to watch it from there.

The parade wasn’t scheduled to go past their house, so the Rubino family parked at Garrison Golf Course to watch it from there.

The Foulk family couldn’t believe how loud the sirens were.

The Foulk family couldn’t believe how loud the sirens were.

 

 

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