Along the shore this weekend, "sandy" will revert to its benign, pre-storm meaning, with nearly all beaches and parks restored and ready for the unofficial start of summer.
From Milford to Greenwich, most of the damage caused by the October 29 superstorm has been repaired, and all state parks and forests will open for the season this weekend.
A number of area towns plan parades, including on Sunday: Ansonia and Stamford at noon, Milford and Monroe at 2 p.m. and Greenwich at 5. Monday parades include Danbury at 9:30 a.m., Trumbull, Fairfield and Norwalk at 10 and Oxford at 11.
The weather, though, could put a damper on the Memorial Day weekend activities.
Rain is likely on-and-off through Sunday morning, the National Weather Service said, with breaks of sun and clouds on Monday. The temperatures will be a bit lower than they were for much of the week, with the high Saturday struggling to make it out of the 50s, the NWS says.
Four shoreline state parks -- Silver Sands, Sherwood Island, Rocky Neck and Harkness Memorial -- needed repairs before they could reopen, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials said.
A bathroom roof at Sherwood Island in Westport and a section of boardwalk at Silver Sands in Milford had to be rebuilt, and sand blown from the beach onto roads and parking lots had to be swept up and replaced.
Lifeguards are still being hired for some parks, officials said Thursday. The lifeguards are among the 500 to 600 seasonal employees being added. Lifeguards are assigned to 11 designated swimming areas within 23 state parks, DEEP spokesman Dwayne Gardner said.
"Lifeguards at state parks are on duty from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. We are still recruiting qualified guards for the 2013 season in some locations," Gardner said.
The more than 1,400 campsites in 13 state parks, from Hammonassett Beach in Madison to Kettletown in Southbury and Kent Falls are available beginning Saturday, and the DEEP's 115 boat launches are open.
The department has developed a smartphone app for park visitors who want directions and up-to-date information, and visitors to most facilities will be greeted by large banners honoring the centennial of the state park system.
The price of a season pass to all state parks has not increased from last year -- $67 for state residents and $112 for non-resident -- and daily visitors can pay parking fees with their credit cards at many facilities, Gardner said.
"The 2013 summer season promises to be one of the very best in the history of our park system," said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty.
"As we head into the celebration of the centennial of our parks, it is more attractive than ever for families to get out and have fun in the outdoors," Esty said.
Getting there will cost a little less this Memorial Day than it did a year ago, said Fran Mayko, a spokeswoman for the AAA of Southern New England. More than 11 percent of New England residents will be on the road at some point during the holiday period, Mayko said in a news release.
They'll be paying about 7 cents a gallon less for gas than they did a year ago, Mayko said. A gallon of regular gas averages $3.87 in the greater Bridgeport area, she said, while the state average is $3.79.
Drivers won't be dodging a lot of orange traffic cones. Department of Transportation officials said that all maintenance and construction activities on major expressways will be suspended from 6 a.m. Friday through 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
Connecticut Transit buses will operate on a Sunday schedule Monday, and Metro-North Railroad will operate special "getaway'' trains on Friday, beginning at 12:04 p.m., to carry Connecticut and suburban New York residents home to start the long weekend.
On Memorial Day, trains will operate a Sunday schedule, with one extra train departing New Haven at 7:47 p.m., according to the railroad's web site.
Most connecting services, though, will not operate on Monday.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-330-6326, http://twitter.com/FrankJuliano