The parade is starting much earlier than in years past — 10 a.m. — but police are preparing for large crowds just the same.
Joseph Bloecker, one of the organizers, said he hopes people from beyond the Town of East Hampton will get the message that the parade is staring about three hours earlier, so as to get the parade back to its roots of a family-friendly event.
As many as 35,000 people have flocked to Montauk for the festivities.
In fact, those who traditionally take the train to catch the parade won't be able to this year. The first train doesn't arrive in Montauk until 10:46 a.m., and the parade will be nearly over by then. The second train arrives at 12:46 p.m.
Bloecker said the problem in years past has not only been , but the large amount of people that stepped off the train onto Flamingo Avenue and then walked with the parade toward Main Street as it was tarting.
"We're responsible for this parade," he said. "When we're walking up the street and we've got 1,500 revelers walking in the middle of the street, it doesn't look good."
, the new commander, said it's too early to tell whether the time change will do the trick. "As in past years, we hold a zero tolerance policy for under-aged drinking," he said.
About 120 police officers will be on duty, he said. They are preparing for added traffic due to the train schedule. He reminded parade-goers, "Please don't drink and drive."
Roads will start closing in Montauk early. The northern route of Flamingo Avenue will be closed at 9 a.m., so floats and marchers can line up. Main Street will close down around 9:30 a.m.
"We're hoping everybody enjoys the day and they do it safely," Hatch said.