NEWBURYPORT — In the spirit of this year's theme, It Takes a Village, the Yankee Homecoming parade committee is looking for just that: people from all civic, youth, charitable, town and other specialty groups to participate in the event's grand finale parade.

The parade caps off the weeklong festivities and, in its 54th year, is one of the many highlights of Yankee Homecoming. For the first time in the parade's history, it will be televised live on public access television and be streaming live on the Internet; also, prize money will be awarded to each of the three float categories. Once again, the committee is also offering $350 to any group or organization of 26 to 28 people that wants to carry a banner in the parade, just as the Pentucket High School Junior class did in 2010. This fundraiser is also the best way to catch all the sights and sounds along High Street.

Unlike in years past, and even as the date gets closer, there's still an opportunity for a musical youth group or band to be a part of the parade. What larger stage and better audience than the many thousand people that line the parade route to show off talents?

Finally, the parade committee is reaching out to the community and asking that they share their photographs and stories of Yankee Homecoming. There will be a memories page on the website to display pictures and tales from any who have enjoyed this time-honored tradition, so that those who are new to Yankee Homecoming can see what it's all about. Send parade or any other photos to:

Remember, "it takes a village" to have a parade of this magnitude. Marching, building a float or volunteering to help is a perfect way to be a part of the second-oldest town festival in the country. For more information, contact parade Chairman Michael Volpone at 978-479-2550 or Those who have an antique car and would like to join the parade should contact Jack Gagne at 978-465-7240.

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