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Wellesley Hoping Mother Nature Won’t Rain on Annual Parade

Wellesley Wonderful Weekend officials hope for dry weather.

Tomorrow’s weekend in Wellesley is going to be wonderful. (No, we don’t mean the weather, though we hope).

Beginning tomorrow is the 13th annual Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend festival, a weekend with so many Wellesley-organization based events that it actually began last weekend with the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club Kitchen Tour.

While this weekend is only lucky No. 13 for the festival, Royall H. Switzler, chairman of the Wellesley Celebrations Committee and well-known Wellesley resident, said the festivities have been going on a lot longer than 13 years.

“I’ve been doing this for 18 years, and it’s felt like a lifetime,” he said.

In 1968, the Wellesley Veterans’ Parade, which will take place this Sunday, is where it all began. Switzler became chair of that event in 1993. Then, the parade was held in November to coincide with Veterans’ Day, but the weather refused to cooperate. When Switzler took over, the committee moved it back to October. Still no luck, he said.

“We had two hurricanes that blew threw,” he said. “So we tried to move it to spring…We sent out a questionnaire to see what people would like to see if we made this a spring event. We called it ‘Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend.’”

The name stuck, and the events would follow. Switzler said the first thing people asked for were fireworks – “We’d never had fireworks in Wellesley before that,” he said – next the and departments opened up their stations to the public. Eventually, seemingly every organization with “Wellesley” before its name signed on.

“It’s about 23, 24 events altogether,” Switzler said.

Here’s a small sampling:

  • A multi-organization sponsored dog contest at Warren Park (Sat., 10 a.m.)
  • Police, Fire and MLP open houses (Sat., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
  • Flamenco guitar concert at the library (main branch, Wakelin Room, 2 to 3:30 p.m.)
  • Tomatomania heirloom tomato seedling sale (MassHort at Elm Bank, Sun, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • The 43rd annual Veterans Parade (Sun., 1 to 3 p.m.)
  • Fireworks display – touted as: “The biggest ever!” (Hunnewell Field, Sun., dusk)

The forecast calls for a bit more rain and clouds this weekend, though not as much of either as this past week. Switzler, who knows too well the agony of running major events in bad weather, is keeping his fingers crossed.

“I hate to mention that dirty four-letter word, it begins with ‘R’ and ends with ‘N,’ " he said. “It doesn’t fit with parades.”

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