CHILLS AND THRILLS: ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD FOR DOT DAY PARADE
The annual celebration of Boston’s largest and most diverse neighborhood was back Sunday afternoon — with marching raucous floats, booming beats, dancing and kicking kids, colorful dragons and clowns and a wealth of Dorchester pride miles up Dorchester Avenue.
“Dorchester’s the best!” bellowed local 4-year-old Elijah as a lineup of motorcyclists with American and Vietnamese Flags revved by Dorchester Park.
The festivities Sunday marked the 117th annual parade, a 3.2 mile route up the avenue on the first Sunday in June, Dorchester Day. The parade began at 1 p.m. in Lower Mills at the corner of Washington Street and Dorchester Avenue and ends at Savin Hill — the historic site of the first Dorchester Day celebration.
Seemingly unfazed by an unseasonably chilly, misty day, neighborhood residents lined the streets for miles along the route, setting up camps in yards, enthusiastically waving noisemakers and wearing a wide range of Dorchester-themed paraphernalia.
“It’s so cold, but we’re having fun,” said Andrea Jones, an X-ray technician at Carney Hospital, standing outside her workplace with a large group of colleagues.
“I’ve see the parade for the last 20 years,” said Carol Elder, who’s long lived right around the corner from the parade route. “They’re doing a lot more now in Dorchester for everybody. That’s why I like the parade.”
The parade included organizations representing local business, advocacy, musicians and artists, and more, including Boston Little Saigon, LGBTQ+ neighborhood group Dot Out, Tempo Rhythm Steel Pan Band and the Dot Tavern.
The parade recognized honorary Dorchester Mayor Lily Rose Valore — a local activist and the first transgender person to hold the title — Little Miss Dorchester winner Roisin Dillon and Young Miss Dorchester co-winners Savannah Washington and Ryleigh Mahoney.
Several politicians also showed out to march along and celebrate, including Mayor Michelle Wu, several city councilors, state representatives and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley.
“Today you can just really see what Dorchester is,” said Kevin Lam, a former resident of the neighborhood. “It’s a lot, and it’s awesome.”