It was a Saturday evening in August. We ordered pizza and a salad from our downtown place. After waiting 20 minutes, I began to wend my way there. First I drove down Union Street, with a quick left on to Lindsey Street. Halfway down Lindsey Street I took a right down an alley behind the Masonic Temple, then on to Main Street. From there it is a straight shot across Main Street to Glover’s Passage.

What a great street name!

I received the pizza and salad with a smile at curbside. It was then my adventure began!

I traveled through the back parking lot behind the block and arrived at Tillson Avenue.

Something was going on.

A man in a white onesie was carrying a ten-foot pole with a big, brightly colored haddock on top. He was part of a group of about 40 revelers comprised of moms, dads and kids. There were two other pole bearers with what looked like sheer white curtains. Someone called out “Ok let’s rebuild this sandwich!” as a brass band began to form on my right.

The band had two or three trumpeters, two slide trombones, a bass drummer, a snare drum with cymbals  and best of all a giant ancient tuba. I would love to know the history of that thing.

Oh my!

As I was trying to take it all in and figure out what I was looking at, my friend Dave warmly greeted me. “Hey Glenn, how are you doing? How are things?”

I said, “What do you call this?” The revelers all burst out laughing.

“What do you call what?” someone asked. Another friend, Chelsea, invited me to join in. I told her I would really like to, but I did not want the pizza to get cold.

“Let’s rebuild the sandwich when we cross Main Street!” called out the organizer.

The band began to play, starting with that immense tuba! Then with a crash of cymbals the trumpeters began with a flourish, driven by the snare drums.

It was indescribably good. It had a New Orleans style for sure. The “sandwich” marched up the sidewalk toward Main Street. A mom on her bicycle held off traffic in front of By George Jeweler for the throng to cross the street. As they marched down the sidewalk, diners along the other side of the street laughed and cheered.

I enjoyed a bit more of the “sandwich” as I drove home on Main Street.

It is wonderful that something like that takes place in our town. Unannounced, rehearsed but spontaneous, and pure fun. It reminded me of the Shebang Street theatre group that would appear out of nowhere in Camden in the 90s. Shebang was more about pageantry than music, but the surprise of it was the same.

To everyone involved I say, keep it going. By the way, what was the name of that song?

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

The sandwich band in Rockland.

The sandwich parade in Rockland.