NEWBURYPORT — This year’s Yankee Homecoming chairperson hopes every resident along High Street will get in the spirit and show the flag when the annual event rolls around.
Jennifer Duggan, who heads up the 62nd annual event, said she realized something was missing when she was marching down High Street during last year’s Yankee Homecoming parade.
“I noticed that very few (Yankee Homecoming) flags were being flown,” she said. “And I thought, ‘How great would it be to be able to watch the parade while being surrounded by Yankee Homecoming flags?’”
Duggan said the blue and white flags are “a huge part of the event’s history,” and she has been on a mission to get at least one flying from every High Street home during the parade Aug. 4.
Duggan walked the 2½-mile High Street parade route about a month ago and delivered letters offering residents a chance to buy a Yankee Homecoming flag for $50, with the proceeds going toward the parade.
“If I raise enough funds, there will be a banner that will go at the front of the National Lancers (ceremonial cavalry troop) telling people it is brought to them by the residents of High Street,” Duggan said.
So far, 30 High Street residents have taken Duggan up on her offer and word has gotten out to the rest of the city.
“For anyone who resides on High Street, that money will continue to be earmarked for the parade,” she said. “For everyone else, it will go toward supporting Yankee Homecoming.”
To order a flag, go to the Yankee Homecoming website, www.yankeehomecoming.com.
The history of the flag’s design is somewhat clouded, but it was commissioned by Yankee Homecoming Committee member Ralph Ayers in 1966.
At the time, Ayers asked Towle Manufacturing Co. designer Tony Barbaro to come up with a flag design. Barbaro returned with a blue-and-white-striped flag that included a tricorn hat as well as a sword surrounded by 11 stars of an unknown origin, even to its designer.
“No one knows why the stars are there,” Duggan said. “Nobody knows what they symbolize.”
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.