Going back in history, the Horribles Parade was started in the Riverdale section of
Gloucester by two men, Nick Montgromery and John Day. The parade was always held
on the Fourth of July at 5 A.M. The farmers would bring their animals from the farms to
march along with all the kids dressed in outlandish costumes, anything to be Horrible.
This system worked well in the late 20’s and all during the 1930’s.
After World War II, in 1946, the Riverdale Athletic Club sponsored the parade, still as
the Riverdale Horribles The major change was that the parade was held on the Night
Before The Fourth (July 3rd) at 6 PM. The route was from the Riverdale Mills to the
Riverdale Fire Station on Stanwood Street where the Committee would serve Hot Dogs
and Soda to everyone, Free of Charge..
In 1960 the Athletic Club decided it could no longer sponsor the Parade. That’s when
four men from Riverdale who were on the Committee for the Athletic Club, decided they
would continue the tradition. The second major change was turning the Parade around to go from Riverdale to downtown Gloucester and re-name it the Fishtown Horribles Parade of Gloucester.
From 1960 to the present the tradition has continued with a volunteer committee of 8 to
10 men providing Gloucester with its major Independence Day celebration on July 3rd at 6 P.M. For the first several years of being “downtown” the route varied until the best
route was finalized and for many years has started and ended at Gloucester High School and covering the waterfront boulevard thru downtown toward Washington Street and back to the High School. With 100 Horribles, 40 to 60 floats and a dozen bands, this seems to be the best and safest route for all concerned. This route does not require the moving of trucks, buses, and cars from the start to the finish.
This parade is totally financed and paid by many, many local business and individuals
with no monetary contribution from the City of Gloucester. The parade would not be the
great success it is without the cooperation of the Gloucester Police Department and the
Gloucester High School.
In 2003, the Grand Marshall was James A. Marr, who just retired as Gloucester's Chief of Police, after 39 years of law enforcement.
For a number of years, the parade was dedicated to a lady who volunteered almost 50 years, the late JO TUCKER. She was a dedicated volunteer for many civic causes, and a fitting tribute was paid to her memory on July 3rd, 2003.
WHAT IS A HORRIBLES???
For Cape Ann, a Horrible is:::: Any costume or skit, made up by any
Individual for the purpose of having FUN..
The period of the Horrible can be from yesterday back to the beginning of time.
The age of the Horrible can be from 6 months old to 99 years of age.
The theme of the Horrible cannot be offensive or vulgar in any way, at the
discretion of the Judges.
It usually takes the theme of a local or national happening or news event, TV.
movies, or political happening.