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The return of the lawn chair drill team topped a glorious July 5 parade

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News

GARY'S BARBER SHOP won First Place in the Business and Commercial division of the parade for its animated depiction of a barber shop in the 1800s with a draped customer in the chair and the standing barber slapping his razor back and forth across a leather strop. (Thomas Beeler photo) (click for larger version)
July 10, 2014
WOLFEBORO — Delayed by rain for the first time in memory, Wolfeboro's Independence Day parade still lived up to its reputation as the best in the state for the variety and ingenuity of its entries and for the fun and good spirits it engenders.

Parade Marshall Harold Chamberlin of American Legion Post 18 said his memory of the parade goes back to 1970, when he first marched after his discharge from the Marine Corps, and this was the first time the parade has been postponed in his 44 years of involvement. By 5:30 p.m. Thursday evening, July 3, the probability of rain was raised to 80 percent, and he could no longer avoid a postponement. After making or taking more than 50 calls he called it a night.

It was a wise decision because, after a brief shower early in the morning, Saturday, July 5, turned out perfectly sunny with a light breeze – perfect parade weather.

Because of the change of date some politicians who planned to be in the parade did not make it, including U.S. First District Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. However, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Smith from Tuftonboro marched, as did Republican gubernatorial candidate Walter Havenstein.

The highlight of the parade for many was the return of the Wolfeboro Offshore Ad-Lib Precision Lawn Chair Drill Team, led by Byron Martin.

The only mishap in the parade was the breakdown of the G.A.L.A. biodiesel truck whose radiator failed climbing the South Main Street hill opposite Hunter's Shop 'n Save. Spectators and parade members pitched in and helped push the vehicle up to the finish and off Main Street.

Parade highlights

This year's theme, chosen by the parade's longtime organizer Harold Chamberlin, commander of American Legion Post 18, was "The Way It Was," a reference to the many anniversaries celebrated in the parade, such as The Country Bookseller's 20 years, the Wolfeboro Area Children's Center's 40 years and Kingswood Regional High School's 50 years.

Entries in the parade were judged for how well they presented that theme as well as the imagination and skill that went into their preparation.

The parade is organized into three groups or divisions, and prizes are awarded for first, second and third place in each group. In addition, trophies are also awarded for novelty entries, and there are trophies awarded by the commander and parade marshal as well as an overall Grand Prize winner.

The Grand Prize winner was the very professional float from Concord Christian Academy that featured a Bible on top of a beam labeled "Religious Freedom" supported by five pillars representing the five armed services with the legend "Pillars of Freedom" at the base.

In the First Division (Business and Commercial), First Place went to Gary's Barber Shop for a float depicting an old-fashioned barber shop from the 1800s with a customer in a barber's chair and the barber himself sharpening his blade on a strop prior to shaving.

Second Place went to No View Farm with a float displaying a barn, tractor and plants with the banner, "Local Farmers Feeding Local People." Third Place went to Carroll County Landscape with a dump truck draped with American flags and two mannequins with planted pot heads doing some landscape work.

In the Second Division (Clubs and Organizations) First Place went to The Wright Museum and its expanded collection of WWII military vehicles, none of which had mechanical problems this year.

Second Place went to the a new Huggins Hospital float where an emergency doctor danced to "Staying Alive" and a flash mob of came out an demonstrated CPR on practice dummies (the mob members wore red shirts with the legend "CPR Saves Lives." Third Place went to the Wolfeboro Area Children's Center with its white bus festooned with H.R. Puff'n Stuff figures and a banner celebrating its 40th year of serving area children.

In the Third Division (Private and Political) First Place went to Jeep Pride, a convoy of 12 new and vintage Jeep Wrangler vehicles. Second place went to The Wooden Nickels Band, which played continuously from a covered platform float. Third Place went to Bob Wood, who drove a 1953 Dodge military vehicle saluting the U.S. Army National Guard 197th Anti-Aircraft Group, 1950-1964.

In the Novelty category, First Place went to The Country Bookseller, which is celebrating 20 years of serving Wolfeboro and displayed childrens' book characters. Second Place went to Winnipaw Station/Assistance Canine Training Services and Third Place went to the re-energized Wolfeboro Offshore Ad-Lib Precision Lawn Chair Drill Team.

The Commander's Trophy went to the American Legion and the Navy Whites, who led the parade. And the Marshal's Trophy went Judy Breuninger who strutted along the route in her spangled top hat and patriotic majorette outfit, twirling a baton.

Following the parade, Chamberlin announced the winning entries, chosen by judges, and presented the awards at a special ceremony at American Legion Post 18 Hall at 3 p.m.

This year we publish no fewer than 48 photos of the parade, taken by this reporter, friend and artist Sandy Martin, Elissa Paquette, Heather Terragni and Josh Spaulding. In addition to the two on the front page, additional photos may be found on pages A9-A11.

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