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Essex Ed Ready to Hit the Essex Street in Parade on Jan. 28 |

Essex Ed Ready to Hit the Essex Street in Parade on Jan. 28

There are questions even the most inquisitive journalist can’t get answered and information that sources won’t share no matter how hard they are pressed. One such question, “What will Essex Ed the groundhog be dressed as at the upcoming parade?” can only be answered by attending the annual Essex Groundhog Parade in Essex Village on Sunday, Jan. 28, kicking off at 2 p.m.

“People really look forward to the costume being a surprise,” said Amy Cameron, president of the Essex Board of Trade (EBOT), which sponsors the parade and other events in town. “It’s fun for the residents and it’s fun for the organization that is chosen to do it. Even we don’t know what Ed will look like until he or she appears on the actual day. The Essex Ed parade is a wonderful tradition that gets people out of their houses in this cold dreary month.”

Over the years, Essex Ed has been dressed as historical figures, athletes, thespians, and musical performers. Essex Ed towers above residents at more than seven feet tall. On the day of the parade, a secretly chosen non-profit organization and volunteer Ralph Herman transport Ed to Essex Boatworks where the parade steps off. At the route’s end, he is placed at the rotary near Talbot’s.

“He’s big enough to fill the bed of a truck,” said Judy Heiser, a member of EBOT who has been involved with the parade for years. “People wear special hats or costumes. It’s a very lighthearted period of time and people like the idea of it.”

Several local groups will be marching in the parade including representatives from Bikes for Kids and the Valley Regional High School girls’ crew team. There will also be antique cars, fire trucks, and more. Those interested in marching can email the EBOT through its website or its Facebook page.

Parade-goers are encouraged to bring noise-makers and the parade route is often filled with adults and children banging cookware in order to wake Essex Ed from his winter’s nap.

“The community and people from all around come with their pots and pans—it’s this fun, iconic parade that doesn’t happen just anywhere and is just one of the reasons that makes Essex so special,” said Cameron. “The sense of community that it invokes is what people love about it. There are not many towns that will come out and celebrate a giant groundhog.”

Cameron also loved that the parade brings crowds to the village and encourages people to visit the local merchants and to “love their local.” About 100 local businesses are members of EBOT and the dues not only support this parade, but other events in town, the hanging of flags in the summer, and decorating with garland in the winter.

“A lot of the things that happen in town are because of the Board of Trade and its members,” said Cameron. “It’s important for people to know these things happen because of local businesses that care. We care about our town so much that we belong to this organization that creates events that everybody gets to enjoy.”

For information, visit or follow the Essex Board of Trade on Facebook.

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