Fourth of July in Woods Hole is, to put it simply, unique. Think graduate students dressed as green florescent sporozoites (whatever that is!) and you will start to get an idea. Combining the love of marine biology and patriotism, local scientists come out in force for a fun and quirky parade.
I got to Woods Hole early, thinking I could grab a coffee with plenty of time to find a spot on Water Street. By the time I got there, the streets were already flooded with people, jostling for spots to watch this distinctive show.
From socks to hats, the people of Woods Hole were dressed in red, white and blue as they anxiously awaited this traditional display of patriotism. At noon, the music began to signal the parade’s start; on-lookers jumped to their feet to get a better view.
The floats ranged from Santa Clauses to microbes to crustaceans and amoeba. One particular group covered with green balloons and trash bags really caught my eye – largely as I had absolutely no idea what they were supposed to be. I caught up with this group of scientists at the end of the parade, although this was a lot harder than I had expected because as it turns out the parade ends with a traditional water balloon fight.
Kirk Deitsch informed me that their group is apart of the “Biology of Parasitism” at the MBL (the Marine Biological Laboratories), meaning that they study parasites. “We are all dressed as green fluorescently labeled malaria sporozoites” Deitsch said. I guess my blank face gave away how this statement literally meant nothing to me because he then laughed hysterically and continued, “now how about some English?” Deitsch went on to explain how they portrayed the stage of the parasite that infects a person’s liver that eventually causes malaria – a disease that kills over 1 million African children every year.
Fourth of July in Woods Hole is upbeat, fun, informational, and come prepared to learn something about microbes, parasites and malaria! Overall, it’s a parade you can’t miss!