Wolfeboro's renowned Lawn Chair Brigade marches up Main Street during the annual Independence Day Parade. For more images from this year's parade, see our special commemorative section in this week's edition. (Photo by Elissa Paquette) (click for larger version)
July 11, 2018WOLFEBORO — Despite being held on one of the hottest days so far this summer (up to 92 degrees by the time it ended), Wolfeboro's Independence Day Parade stepped off promptly at 10 a.m. on North Main Street.
Organized by American Legion Harriman-Hale Post 18, the parade is as old as the Legion itself, which was founded 99 years ago in 1919. For nearly 30 years, Legionnaire Harold Chamberlin has been the Parade Marshall. The Wolfeboro parade also has the distinction of being recognized as the largest parade in New Hampshire.
Parade judges this year were Lindy Viscio (Leader) and Lew and Linda Williams.
The theme of the parade was "We the People" – the first words of the Constitution. The winner of the Marshall's Prize this year was The Choma Family float, which, against the huge letters "USA," displayed the opening paragraph of the document and featured a colonial-era dressed town crier reading that paragraph.
Moultonborough's Choma Family had received the Grand Prize in last year's parade.
In Division 1 (Business and Commercial), First Place was awarded to Spider Web Gardens for its flowery display pulled by a tractor driven by Bill Stockman. Second Place went to a special entry in memory of Larry Smart. Third Place went to the Penny Candy Shop, which celebrated its 10th year in business by distributing candy all along the route. Penny Sommers herself drove the birthday vehicle.
In Division 2 (Clubs and Organizations), First Place was awarded to The Wright Museum for its parade of vintage WWII vehicles, most featuring people in period costumes and uniforms. Second Place was awarded to the End 68 Hours of Hunger entry and its colorful float with waving children. Third Place went to Expressions Dance Academy for its energetically choreographed troupe of dancers of all ages, who were surprisingly vigorous in the heat and humidity.
In Division 3 (Private and Political), First Place went to John Rich's giant New Hampshire State Seal featuring an intricate carved schooner. Second Place was awarded to the Wooden Nickels Band, which played impressive rock music all along the route. Third Place went to John Best, a veteran of Vietnam and Desert Storm riding his horse Maggie: the 75-year-old hails from DeRuyter, N.Y.
Among parade favorites that did not win an award this year, the Wolfeboro Lawn Chair Drill Team offered a more extensive routine this year and Judy Breuninger strutted her stuff once again. The One-Wheeled Wonders demonstrated how to ride a unicycle, including ones six feet high. One rider made four impressive tries to remount his medium-height cycle by himself as the crowd cheered him on.
Leading the Wolfeboro Historical Society entry was Sam Marsh, who has taken on the role of General James Wolfe, the British general for whom the town is named, replacing Christian Boudman, who has portrayed the General for many years.
There were new entries that were also impressive. The Village Players marched in costume, one for each of their productions over the years. Our own Sports Editor Josh Spaulding, who had his acting debut the past year with the Players, joined his fellow actors during the parade after marching with the Cate Park Band.
Kingswood Hockey had an entry where team members set up a goal and took shots at it.
Finally, what kind of party celebrating our independence would it be if there were no candy for the children? Many of the organizations gave out candy along the route; however, the most impressive was the princess in the Village Players, who brought the most smiles.