If you want to watch a routine holiday parade this Independence Day, steer clear of Nazareth.
Because before the barbecues and family gatherings, the annual July 4th Kazoo Parade -- now in its seventh year -- will march through downtown historic Nazareth.
That's right. A kazoo parade.
In an 1895 Montgomery Ward catalog, kazoos are described as a "great musical wonder" that anyone can play. This remains true a mere 116 years later.
Marchers will be divided into groups and each will be assigned patriotic songs to play on their kazoos, which will be provided by Lafayette Ambassador Bank for those who don't have a kazoo of their own.
The 2011 parade will be led by the kazoo lady herself: Grand Marshal Abbe Graber, also known as “Miss G."
"Miss G" has played kazoos for more than 30 years and sells wooden kazoos -- made by her own hands -- through her company, Woodstock Wooden Kazoo.
The soon-to-be grand marshal of Nazareth's kazoo parade has been so excited to make the trip from upstate New York that she's either fixed or replaced about half the parts on her “workhorse” -- her 2000 Dodge Caravan. She's hoping her journey will be smooth.
“It all happened serendipitously,” Graber added.
One of Graber's customers who lives in Nazareth sent her a letter suggesting she sing the National Anthem at the parade. Graber, a talented singer as well as kazoo-maestro, said she felt “overwhelmed” by the opportunity at first, but eventually decided to join the fun.
She will also sing “God Bless America” as part of the patriotic program, she said.
The Nazareth chamber bestowed the title of grand marshal on Graber due to her fame and reputation in the rarefied world of kazoos, according to chamber president Tina Smith.
Gruber, whose boisterous spirit cannot be contained by a telephone connection, worked at many jobs before she found her calling in kazoo-making.
“I have been a corrections officer, a cupcake-maker and a ditch digger when I had to be,” she said.
Local elected officials and U.S. Rep Charlie Dent (R-15th) will greet marchers and the patriotic sounds coming from their kazoos in front of council chambers at the end of the parade route.
Smith credited former Nazareth Area Chamber of Commerce president Bill Brackbill (also a former Northampton County executive and superintendent of Nazareth schools) for conceiving the idea of the kazoo parade.
For more on "Miss G" and Woodstock Wooden Kazoo, visit www.woodstockwoodenkazoo.com.
Monday's Parade Route: From Nazareth Area High School, marchers will turn up S. Liberty Street and then make a right onto Belvidere Street. From there, they will head to Main Street, make a right toward Center Square, march halfway around the circle, turn right onto W. Center Street and, finally, end at council chambers, 159 W. Center St.