Restaurant questions exclusion from Hampton Holiday Parade parade
By JOHN QUINN
Sunday News Correspondent | November 30. 2013 10:57PM
Bill Niland, owner of the Chop Shop Pub & Grub in Seabrook, poses with his daughter and a few costumed characters who walked alongside his float in the annual Hampton Holiday Parade last year. (Courtesy)
Comments have sprung up on Experience Hampton Inc.'s Facebook page both in defense of the decision and in support of the Chop Shop Pub & Grub, a "bike-friendly and classic car bar" that opened in 2009 and has participated in at least four previous parades.
This is the fourth year he's hosted a drive, and it will be held Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. at the Chop Shop, 920 Lafayette Road (Route 1), Seabrook.
According to a statement issued Saturday from the Experience Hampton Board of Directors:
"It's about safety & liability, pure and simple. . Our decision had nothing to do with the good work that goes on at the Chop Shop. It has nothing to do with veterans, giving away free meals at Thanksgiving, Toys for Tots or any of that. It was the recommendation of the safety committee, after the first year when one or more bikes did a "burnout" downtown, the next year people hanging off the float. The board of directors went with the recommendation of the safety committee, and that recommendation was reconsidered earlier this week and still decided to follow the safety recommendation."
In 2010, Niland recalled that a motorcyclist not affiliated with the Chop Shop revved his bike a little too loud to thrill crowds during the parade. He added police dealt with the issue right away, and there haven't been similar problems since.
"It's kind of an ongoing problem with Hampton and bikers," Niland said. "We represent that demographic."
Additionally, Niland said occupants on the Chop Shop's float and the staff who hand out candy to kids follow the designated safety procedures. He added there are plenty of photos on Experience Hampton Inc.'s Facebook page that show other safety issues, including low railings, people hanging out of school buses and children standing in police cruisers and fire trucks.