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History

Ain’t it Grand?

The first PHP parade set off on a damp Halloween night in 1995. There were only few  dozen people in the parade, and most of them had been involved in planning the event. A single police escort followed the small troupe as the masked marchers stomped through the city streets and howled at the moon. We have Dino Danakamala to thank for bringing the parade to the streets that night, and he will forever be the original “Grand Poobah.” A video of the first year’s parade can be seen here.

Nine years later the parade had evolved into an annual event of growing popularity. It was decided that not only should this spectacle have a leader – a grand marshal as they say in parade vernacular – but that this marshal should be someone who honored or embodied the fact that underneath Portsmouth’s pricey developments and glossy finish the city had a scrappy history of rugged individualism and a lush creative community at its heart.

Our beloved Grand Marshals are as follows:

2003: Bruce Pingree
2004: Dan Blakeslee
2005: Pete Duchesne
2006: Deb Murray
2007: Chris Elliot
2008: Tom Colletta
2009: Steve Fowle
2010: Gay Bride of Frankenstein (writers Billy Butler and Dane Leeman)
2011: Denise Wheeler
2012: John Herman
2013: John Prendergast and Carol Woodman of The Jumbo Circus Peanuts
2014: Trevor Bartlett
2015: Monte Bohanan
2016 : Diana Kirkpatrick