AYER -- Behold, your parade grand marshal for this year's Fourth of July celebration is Peter Johnston. Johnston was named on Tuesday night by the Board of Selectmen as the symbolic leader of the town's Independence Day parade, set to step off on Saturday, July 7.
When presented with an over-sized Uncle Sam hat at the meeting, Johnston said that he'd "Just come across the border from the town of Harvard to the town of Ayer and I've been happier than ever." Johnston, raised in Harvard as a youth, has called Ayer his home for decades.
Selectman Chairman Jim Fay presented the hat to Johnston, stating that Johnston was a "man of many hats," having served as a husband, father, Scout leader, firefighter, postman, and Planning Board Chairman, among other posts. Fay called Johnson a "father of the town."
The town's fireworks display is also scheduled for Saturday, July 7. In the event of rain, the pyrotechnics show will move to Sunday, July 8.
-- Mary Arata