WALLINGFORD — The Wallingford 350th+2 Jubilee Parade will be led by Chris Ulbrich, who was selected to be the procession’s grand marshal on Wednesday.
“I’m honored, you know the town of Wallingford has been a great community for our company and I’ve lived here for a while and we’re going on 100-years-old in 2024,” said Ulbrich, who is CEO of Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals.
Ulbrich, alongside the honor guard and vanguard, will lead approximately 2,000 marchers expected to walk the two-mile route on June 18. Ulbrich hinted there will be a fun, international surprise guest alongside him. The parade, which starts at 1:30 p.m., begins at Moses Y. Beach Elementary School, heads down Center Street and South Elm Street, and ends at Lyman Hall High School.
Parade Committee Chair Jonathan Judd said around 125 organizations are participating.
Ulbrich said the parade will be a time for the town to bind together, especially after the pandemic.
“Three hundred and fifty years is a rare occurrence and Wallingford is a great town and it’s always good to celebrate good things,” he said. “We’re surrounded by so many tough things so let us celebrate some positive things once in a while.”
Jubilee Committee Co-chair Christine Mansfield said the company was among the first organizations in town to offer volunteers and a donation for the celebration. Chris Ulbrich serves on the Jubilee Committee.
“Their mission is to serve and to help the community and it’s never been so evident as with the parade,” Mansfield said. “Seven years ago when the mayor first formed the planning committee for this, they were one of the first … (to) not only step up, but come through with funding ... It’s so fitting in the spirit of Fred Ulbrich and the family (for Chris Ulbrich) to be the marshal is such a testament to the legacy.
“It’s a ceremonial role, but it’s a distinction to be leading the parade and all of the units behind it,” she added.
Bob Devaney, who co-chairs the Jubilee Committee with Mansfield, said Ulbrich was the perfect choice.
“Chris Ulbrich and his whole family have done numerous things for Wallingford over the years, especially with the (Ulbrich) Boys and Girls Club,” he said.
Before the parade begins, Judd said there will be bands playing at the intersection of South Main Street and Center Street and at Doolittle Park.
Parade organizers tried to balance the traditions of past jubilees with the changes in town, Mansfield said.
“It’s such a tradition for Wallingford jubilees to have a parade of this magnitude and it was important for the committee to keep some of those traditions,” she said. “You’ll see a lot of similarities and you’ll see some new features too and I think it’s evident of the committee’s dedication to honor the past but also … the diversity and growth the town has experienced over 350 years.”
With the parade just over a week away, Mansfield is excited to see the culmination of the work volunteers have done since planning started seven years ago.
“I think for me the emotion is not only for the community that is going to get to cheer and celebrate,” she said, “but the manifestation of hundreds or thousands of hours.”
Reporter Devin Leith Yessian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.