4th of July Boat Parade History
It all started with a man and a love for his country. In the 1990’s on the 4th of July, Roger DuBois and his dog Rusty would get in his pontoon boat early in the morning, and drive around Lake Groton playing patriotic music over the speakers of his boat. His wife Mary Ann urged him not to go so early; as not to disturb the neighbors, she was afraid they would receive negative phone calls. Well… phone calls they got, but negative they weren’t. Neighbors from around the lake were asking him to come back. So around noon he would don his patriotic hat waving to those on the shore. A simple one-man parade spawned the idea for Roger to hand out flyers and invite ALL to join in. His neighbor Harold Puffer, who shared his patriotic enthusiasm, soon joined in. The two would decorate their boats and circle the lake. Thus the 4th of July Lake Groton Boat Parade was born.
Roger would traditionally lead the parade with a roar of patriotic music, where he eventually blew out the speakers in his boat. Over the years modifications to the music were made, from an organ with foot pedals, to today using an I-pod.
4th of July 2001 Roger beamed when he circled the lake with his entire family. As he celebrated the two things he loved, his family and his country. Then a spontaneous family picture was taken, a picture that would soon be treasured. Sadly just six weeks later Roger passed away.
In 2002, The DuBois Family prepared for it’s first 4th without their leader. As they gathered in the cove waiting to begin, Harold Puffer had a surprise for them, a sign made to honor his friend and patriotic buddy that read “Thanks Roger” was on the side of his boat, it was such a fitting tribute. Each year the sign is displayed at various locations around the lake.
As more and more boats joined the parade, the Forest Country Store began to donate prizes for the best decorated boat and the DuBois Family presents a gift basket to the best decorated shore display. But the Boat Parade would not be what it is today if it wasn’t for the support of the Lake Groton Community. It has really become a community event. It shows how much we truly love this country we call the United States of America.
The DuBois family would like to THANK our fellow Lake Groton Patriots for making the 4th of July Boat Parades the BEST EVER.
Mary Ann DuBois
117 Silvin Road
Chicopee, MA 01013