STAMFORD, Conn. — He wasn’t chowing down on an apple, a pickle or even a slice of Swiss cheese, but Eric Carle’s beloved “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” loomed over Latham Park Monday in the walk up to the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
The 24th annual parade — complete with giant balloons, marching bands and comic daredevil Bello Nock — with make its way through downtown beginning at noon Sunday.
“Whether you’re six or 96, it’s still a spectacular parade,” said Mayor David Martin, who stopped by to help take the butterfly-to-be for a block-long stroll at the park.
Volunteers gathered to work on their balloon-handling skills, marching back and forth and waving to the crowd, which is expected to hit about 200,000 on Sunday.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar will be joined by 15 helium-filled friends, including this year’s newbies — Captain Barnacles, Alphonso the Dragon, Ozzy the Octopus, Pirate Pete and Peppa Pig.
Named one of “America’s best artists and entertainers” by Time Magazine, Nock will treat fans to his unique blend of endearing comedy and jaw-dropping daredevil stunts.
In addition, you can tap your toes to the lively beat of 12 marching bands, including the NYPD Emerald Society Pipe & Drum Band and units from Stamford, Westhill, Trumbull, Brien McMahon, Uniondale, Brentwood, Bristol Eastern and Harrison high schools.
Stamford’s Teacher of the Year Vin Urbanowski will have a float and TV personality Alan Kalter will play MC for his 14th year.
The route begins at Summer and Hoyt street and heads south, taking a left on Broad Street and turning south onto Atlantic Street. From there it’s a straight shot down to the route’s end just after Tresser Boulevard.
“We’re so delighted to be able to bring you this every year,” said Sandy Goldstein of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District, the parade’s producers. “It’s a Stamford treasure.”
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