New Bedford’s Centennial Parade Vintage Film [VIDEO]
I somehow fell into an internet rabbit hole last night and stumbled upon some vintage footage of New Bedford's Centennial parade. The celebration happened 73 years ago in downtown New Bedford during the summer of 1947.
It was fascinating to watch the vintage footage. It was hard not to think of the fact that virtually every adult in the film has presumably passed away. Even 10-year-old kids that attended the parade are 83 years old if they are still alive.
In addition to the street vendors selling balloons to the thousands of children and parents that lined the streets, the parade showcased a number of Macy's parade-style balloons. One recognizable character was Felix the Cat, who was vastly more popular back in those days than he is in the year 2020.
Of course, you can't have a centennial parade for New Bedford without a float depicting Captain Ahab and the famous whale he chased in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick.
Ironically, one of the balloon characters in the parade resembled a native person followed by a totem pole. With all of the changes to professional sports teams being discussed this month, it is a balloon that might be frowned upon if featured in a modern-day parade.
What sucks you into the video, though, is the music that accompanies the footage. This was not music from the New Bedford High School marching band. Instead, a haunting drone-like type of music makes the hair on your arms stand up. I keep waiting for a killer to emerge from the crowd, or for one of the women who climbed out of their office windows to catch a better view of the parade to fall to the pavement below.
On a much brighter note, a flowered float bearing the official emblem and slogan of the City of New Bedford was wheeled by the crowds. The Latin Lucem Diffundo is translated into "I Diffuse Light," a nod to the whaling oil that lit the world for so many years and made New Bedford one of the richest cities on the planet.