Gloucester400 will kick off a ceremonial firing of "The Parrott," one of Gloucester’s Civil War era cannons, to signal the start of the Parade of Sail on Sunday, Sept. 5. The Parade of Sail is a hallmark of Gloucester’s Schooner Festival, presented by Maritime Gloucester.
The cannon will be fired from Stage Fort Park throughout the event, marking its first use since its meticulous restoration in 2020. The Parrott will salute the schooners participating in this year’s festival, including The American Eagle, The Columbia, and The Adventure.
“The Gloucester Schooner Festival is an amazing annual celebration, but this year’s cannon salute brings a whole new level of historical significance and drama to the occasion,” said Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “As the city moves forward in preparation for our 400th Anniversary, the timing of this event is an inspiring reminder of Gloucester’s magnificent maritime history and heritage.”
The cannon will be on display to the public following the Parade of Sail and attendees can view this impressive piece of Gloucester’s history firsthand.
“The Parrott”: Over Two Tons of Gloucester History has a Story of Its Own
The Parrott is a particular type of Civil War era cannon, forged in 1865 at the West Point Foundry and distinguished by its long barrel and its 4,286 lb. weight. While in use defending our nation’s shores, the cannon's sheer enormity required a team of 10 draft horses to transport it through the rugged forests of Cape Ann. Even The Parrott’s munitions were large—a single cannon ball weighed roughly 30 pounds. Today, The Parrott is supported by a carriage as it would have been during the Civil War period.
In 2019, the historical cannon was restored following restoration guidelines of the Warren Lash Conservation Center at Clemson University. Initial funding was provided by Gloucester’s Community Preservation funds.
“We are very fortunate to live in a city so rich in history and caring people such as Dave Dow, David Benjamin and members of the Stage Fort Park Advisory Committee,” said Laura M. Ventimiglia, executive director of Gloucester400. “It’s exciting to think that this project was started years ago in preparation for Gloucester’s quadricentennial in 2023. As a result, we can now envision the Fort Gloucester of the past and the future. We look forward to this year’s Parade of Sail as The Parrott once again makes Gloucester history.”
Restoration of The Parrott is part of a larger effort to rehabilitate Stage Fort Park.
Gloucester, which is America’s oldest seaport, will be celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2023. To celebrate its past, honor its people, and welcome its promising future, the city has begun preparations for celebrating this historic milestone and organizing the year-long celebration of its anniversary. The theme of the quadricentennial is Gloucester: Our People, Our Stories and focuses on celebrating Gloucester’s history through the stories of the people who lived, sacrificed, rejoiced, worked, built, and innovated together – at times risking everything – since 1623. Gloucester Celebration Corporation is the organization established to guide the efforts to create a momentous city-wide celebration among its people and businesses and facilitate an exceptional year of festivities.