Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Artist of the Week: Small Town Parade
Our trip up north to my mother's house just happened to coincide with the town fair. We didn't even know about the fair until we got up to her house. As we drove down Main street we could see the signs announcing the upcoming festivities. I got very excited because I had a chance to share a part of my childhood with our children. They have been to county fairs, but never a true blue small town fair.
To show you what a low key/ budget affair it is you have to see the signage associated with the parade. Yes, it's a simple hand written sign, liberally festooned with duct tape, and propped on a piece of wood jammed in a traffic cone. That's Vermont practicality for you.
So of course 10 minutes later Max lost his balloon.
He was crestfallen, but there was nothing I could do. I had offered to tie the balloon to his wrist, but he had refused. As he stood there dejected a very kind older lady offered him her balloon. Max's face lit up and he profusely thanked her. This time when I offered to tie the balloon he shot his arm out and agreed. At this point my sister in law turned up with little Sofia and the parade was about to start.
And for those that can't make out the small print on the banner, S.C.O.T.T.S. stands for Scottish Club Of the Twin States. Vermont and New Hampshire are locally referred to as the Twin States.
Anyhoodle that was the marching band portion of the parade (told you it was a small parade).
Next up were a couple of go carts carrying the number 250. It turns out it is the 250th anniversary of the founding of Norwich. The boys driving were having a good time driving their carts down Main street, something they won't legally be able to do (outside of a parade) for a few more years.
Max thought this part looked like a whole lot of fun.
Sadly there were no horses this year. I remember when I used to live around there, 20 plus years ago (eek!) the local riding club would send a few riders. I don't know when they stopped coming, hopefully they'll come back.
However other traditions did continue.
After the go carts was the entirely random float commemorating the recent royal wedding over in England. Larry thought it was strange that a town celebrating its 250 anniversary would have a float in honor of our former oppressors. I thought it was cute and was basically an excuse for some girls to dress up and toss candy.
And the candy tossing was the tradition that had continued.
I had told the kids that there *might* be some candy tossed from the floats and I was happy that the parade did not disappoint. Having Sofia with us was a huge bonus.
Cute little kids get lots of candy tossed in their direction.
As we scrambled about picking up candy I almost missed the next participant in the parade. It was a lovely antique car, a real beauty that purred down the street. I have no idea what kind of car it is, but it was a nice addition to the parade. I know if I had an antique car this would be a must do on my list, much better than a car show. Here you get to drive, not just park on a hot parking lot.
Too bad they weren't tossing candy, the kid in the rumble seat could have had a field day with a bucket of candy.
The float itself was charming with the simple "birthday cake" and a bunch of folding chairs. I particularly enjoyed the over sized dump truck pulling the trailer along. The bright yellow paint and ridiculousness of the huge truck dwarfing its payload made me smile.
Then bringing up the rear were the town's firetrucks.
No parade is complete without a firetruck and small as the parade was it had two firetrucks.
We got the town's pumper and the ladder trucks. Years ago kids would get to ride on top, but those days are over. Instead a lucky few got to ride in the trucks and wave to the crowds.
Either way it is the quintessential element to a small town parade. Everybody loves to see a firetruck an I know the fire department loves to show them off.
And that was it, the parade in its entirety.
I don't think a parade could be much smaller. It took all of 20 minutes from start to finish. Then the road opened back up and it was business as usual. But the spirit was there and we all had a good time.