As the July 4 parade in Marshfield approaches, The Mail caught up with the co-presidents of the Marshfield Blue Jay Boosters Club about how one of the event’s most beloved features — the marching of the Marshfield High athletes — comes together and what it means to both the students and the community.

Tara McBride and Jana Greenfield, the recently inducted co-presidents of the Blue Jay Boosters, are taking on the organization of the athletes’ march for the first time.

“It was really eye-opening to see how much it involved and how many people we had to coordinate,” said McBride, the mother of Marshfield sophomore athlete Peyton McBride. “But it was also amazing to see how many step up to make it work.”

Indeed, the parade features students from every athletics program that Marshfield High School offers, a collection that requires a fair bit of wrangling. That’s where coaches and parent representatives come in, gathering their respective athletes into manageable groups and keeping everyone together.

The athletes also hand out popsicles to young onlookers, a treat that has been a big hit in the past, but requires another level of coordination to keep cold and solid. There, a donated truck from Don Vance Ford becomes instrumental in carrying coolers full of popsicles (4,000 were purchased this year).

"It's nice to have something to put in kids’ hands, and it helps that it’s something they can use to cool off,” said Greenfield, who’s older son Tristan just graduated as an all-state pole vaulter and younger son Travis has been vaulting at the junior high.

The major idea, though, is connection. As Greenfield noted, the parade is a perfect venue for strengthening the ties between the athletes and the greater Marshfield community. “It’s a way for them to gather together and develop camaraderie among themselves but also with the community,” she said. “It’s also a way for them to give back to the fans that support them throughout the year.”

And that connection is strongest with the elementary-aged boys and girls who line the parade route.

“Some of these little kids seeing these athletes, they’re in awe,” said Greenfield, noting that the connection comes full-circle for the high schoolers as they look back on when they were kids, excited to meet the athletes they looked up to. "They remember what it was like to be on the other side of that, and it's just a great thing to get to step into that role."

"And many of the parents watching can remember walking in that role themselves,” added McBride. “So it connects with the adults, too.”

If readers want to get involved with the boosters, McBride noted that all are welcome, and meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month in room 202 at Marshfield High.

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