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Independence Day motorcade held in Littleton

A small procession of decorated vehicles traveled through the streets of Littleton on the evening of July 4 to celebrate Independence Day despite numerous holiday event cancellations in the region. (Photo by Angel Larcom) (click for larger version)
July 09, 2020
LITTLETON — Despite several holiday event cancellations, parade enthusiast Dennis Hartwell found a new way to celebrate Independence Day. The organizer of Littleton's Christmas Parade and Franconia's annual Old Home Days parade organized a small motorcade to celebrate the Fourth of July.

"I came up with this idea because it was a safe way to do something. Throughout this pandemic so many things have been canceled, including fairs, parades and fireworks. It seemed like we are all groomed to stay inside or social distance and I think people needed something to look forward to," explained Hartwell.

Last Saturday, approximately sixteen participants decorated their vehicles and traveled from the Littleton High School through town and onto Main Street. Flashing lights, American flags and honking horns were part of the experience.

Hartwell said he made it a point to keep the event as low-key as possible because he was concerned about the challenge of safe social distances in large crowds. News of the holiday activity was spread to a limited social media audience and via word-of-mouth only.

The seasoned event organized said he planned to make the motorcade an annual event. Because he anticipates the return of the Franconia Old Home Days parade next year, he said he wanted to keep the Littleton motorcade something that could flow easily with regular traffic.

"I think that next year we will make it into a more elaborate event where we'll start at Apthorp Commons and travel the length of Union Street and Main Street to the fire station. By advertising it next year, we might get more people who want to be involved and decorate their cars. If someone can build a small float that can go the speed of traffic that would be acceptable, but it will never turn into a full-fledged parade," stated Hartwell.

Motorcade participants included one fire truck and an ambulance from the Littleton Fire Department as well as a handful of motorcycles and trikes and a large truck from the B&B Towing and Recovery company.

"This was something unique and different. Everyone that participated in the motorcade enjoyed it. People told me how much fun they had because they could let their hair down and yell and scream if they wanted," added the motorcade organizer.

When asked about his plans for the always well-attended Christmas Parade on Black Friday, Hartwell said he had been working on contingency plans if the COVID-19 case numbers surge again in the fall.

He said, "Unlike many of the other North Country parades, that one is really important because how do you tell young children that Santa isn't coming to town this year? You can't do that. So there has to be a Plan B and a Plan C."

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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