NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — For the first time in its history, New Bedford’s Feast of the Blessed Sacrament will feature the ultimate honor as part of its celebratory parade: a military flyover.

Feast President Jim Gouveia broke the news on WBSM’s SouthCoast Now program Friday, telling hosts Marcus Ferro and Chris McCarthy that the feast organizers are “very, very excited” about it.

“The Army is going to be supplying two military helicopters, a Tomahawk and a Blackhawk,” Gouveia said.

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He said the flyover will start at Brooklawn Park, where the parade begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 6, the final day of the four-day feast.

“The flyover is going to go over Acushnet Avenue, then over the Madeira Field, and then the choppers head back to New York, where they’re coming from,” he said.

The one-mile parade route, led by 2023 Parade Marshal Luis Menezes, goes from Brooklawn, following the park down to Earle Street, comes down Earle past the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and then proceeds to the Madeira Field. More than 40 organizations will take part in the parade, but certainly the highlight will be the first-ever flyover.

“It’s going to be loud and they’re going to be low,” Gouveia said.

Gouveia said the flyover was organized by feast committee member Chris Baptista, with the assistance of Sgt. Nick Farmer of the U.S. Army Recruiting Center in Dartmouth.

“They’ll also be down for the four days of the feast at a vendor’s spot, so stop by and say hi to these guys,” he said. “They’re going to put on a heck of a show for us.”

Other new features for the 107th annual Feast of the Blessed Sacrament include a brand new Stage 2 donated by the Camara family, the former owners of ABC Disposal, as well as a brand new ticket kiosk in the center of the field.

“Hopefully that will streamline some of the tickets and it moves the lines a lot quicker,” Gouveia said.

There will also be new security measures in place at the feast this year, including perimeter fencing and entrance and exit to Madeira Field limited to four different gates, with metal detectors in place for security screening.

The feast is always a time to celebrate, but perhaps no cheer will ever be as big as the one that will likely ring out as the helicopters fly overhead.

“If you haven’t been to the parade for many years, this is the year to do it,” Gouveia said. “It’s very exciting, and what a way to start off our parade.”

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