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BY BEN PIERCE |July 4, 2023

Photo: Paula Nuller

MARBLEHEAD — The intersection of Washington and Hooper Street was reserved Tuesday morning for the 57th annual Fourth of July Street Festival. Children of all ages gathered for the chance to enjoy live music from The MERJ, Bonaparte the magician, mime from “Sir Mimealot” Chris Yerlig, temporary tattoos from Ancient Fire Henna, and chalk messages on the sidewalk to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s independence. However, the biggest attraction was courtesy of a group of performers from another planet entirely.

Commander Glorbo and his alien troop Big Nazo paraded out from the Jeremiah Lee Mansion to the initial fright — which quickly turned to delight — of the children. Glorbo and his fellow extraterrestrials are an international multifaceted entertainment group. Nevertheless, Glorbo was excited to spend Fourth of July bringing smiles to the faces of young Marbleheaders.

“We show up, subvert, entertain, and create some good old chaos where no one knows why, when, or how, but it’s happening,” Glorbo said.

Big Nazo led a conga line to the live-music section, where they danced as many joined in. Naomi, 9, says her time with Big Nazo was the highlight of the day.

“The best thing at the carnival was playing with the monsters,” Naomi said. “Talking to them and hugging them too. My favorite one was the guy who’s from Earth and speaks English.”

The summer-long Festival of Arts President Jodi-Tatiana Charles was also responsible for making the street festival a success. She explained her strategy for keeping kids entertained by avoiding long lines to the festival’s attractions.

When children did find themselves waiting in line, Charles aimed to always have something else they could enjoy while they waited.

She used the attendees’ reaction to rain as evidence that they were having a good time. While the weather remained optimal for most of the four hours, there was an early shower.

“Even when it was raining, everyone was still out here,” Charles said. “It started raining and no one moved.”

Charles is in the first year of a two-year term to organize the festival, along with the Festival of Arts as a whole. Families approached her to commend her for the job she did.

Charles hopes to leave her mark on this holiday in Marblehead when her tenure comes to an end.

“All these things happen every year,” Charles explained. “The only difference for me is that I ask everybody to up their game. Up your game with the music, up your game with the different artists, and just up your game overall because it’s a good challenge for you as well and it benefits the community.”

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