Floats in the Beverly Farms Horribles Parade–the annual satirical Independence Day parade in the conservative and wealthy white enclave in Beverly, Massachusetts–this morning defiantly responded to accusations that the event is racist, homophobic and just plain mean. “Over 100 years of tradition,” read the back of one float, “quit your bitching.”
Many signs positioned criticisms of the parade as threats to free speech. And several floats directly attacked Beverly resident Norrie Gall, who has prominently criticized the parade after seeing my photos of the 2016 event online last year. Her efforts have helped prompt one local bank to back out of sponsoring the event. Signs (in the parade’s traditional rhyming) said: “Think Twice before you write a story Norrie,” “Know your role and shut your hole,” “We know Norris’s out tramping instead of camping,” and “You call us a Klan because you’re not allowed on our sand.”
Floats also doubled down on the racist statements on floats last year that referenced the gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo (“#Gorilla Lives Matter,” read one float accompanied by a person in a gorilla suit) or depicted Mexicans as trying to smuggle drugs past Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. “You got bent out of shape about an ape, give it a break for goodness sake!” read a sign on one of the anti-Gall floats. Another sign mocked a publication that reported Gall’s criticisms: “Boston Magazine a cog in the Clinton crime machine.”
One float mocked Trump. But, perhaps notably, there was little visible support for the current U.S. president seen in this year’s floats.
(All photos copyright 2017 Greg Cook.)