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Wolfeboro July 4 parade "the biggest yet"



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THE MOODUS FIFE & DRUM CORPS won the Grand Prize in the parade. The group was invited by the Wolfeboro 250th Committee and sponsored by Windrifter Resort. Here Wolfeboro 250th Committee members Mary DeVries (left) and Louise Horsken march in costume with the Moodus banner. (Thomas Beeler photo) (click for larger version)
July 08, 2010
WOLFEBORO — Despite high temperatures and an unfulfilled threat of rain, this year's Independence Day Parade in Wolfeboro produced the largest spectator turnout in recent memory.

It was also the longest parade that Grand Marshall Harold Chamberlin has seen since 1970. "I would estimate that the whole parade lasted close to two and one half hours. The longest I have ever had before this year was an hour and fifteen minutes," Chamberlin relates in his accompanying "Independence Day Parade Report."

The theme of the parade this years was "Wolfeboro's 250 Years of History and Patriotism," and it combined the traditional elements of a classic Wolfeboro Fourth of July parade with the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the naming of the town in honor of the British General James Wolfe, the commander who died winning the Battle of Quebec and turning the tide in the French and Indian War in favor of the British. The 24 proprietors of the land grant that became the town decided on Nov. 14, 1759 to name it for Wolfe. The town began a year-long celebration of that event last Nov. 14.

Many of the entries in the parade reflected the 250th Anniversary theme, beginning with the Moodus Drum and Fife Corps from Moodus, Conn., which the Wolfeboro 250th Committee commissioned to march in the parade, sponsored by the Windrifter Resort. The fully-costumed musicians thrilled the audience and impressed the parade judges as well, winning the Grand Prize.

The parade was organized into three divisions and prizes were awarded for the best entries in each division. In the First Division, which includes businesses, Hunter's IGA won first prize for its float depicting a costumed living portrait of General Wolfe. Second place went to Spider Web Gardens of Tuftonboro for its densely-planted float with a signpost in the middle and the banner on the back proclaiming "All roots lead to Spider Web Gardens." Third prize went to ReThreads clothing store for its trio of swank strollers dressed in 1920s formal wear.

In the Second Division (Organizations) First Night Wolfeboro took first place with a colorful float made up of the iconic First Night puppets with the addition of a Wooof puppet made for the parade. In second place was the Wolfeboro Offshore Precision Al-Lib Lawn Chair Drill Team, which, in addition to its usual crisp maneuvers and chants added a Wolfeboro birthday chant to the routine (see sidebar for the lyrics). Third place went to the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire Pipes and Drums Corps, a crowd-pleaser with its smart marching and bagpipe playing.

In the Third Division (Individuals), there was only one winner: Paul Zimmerman, who portrayed Tuftonboro's namesake, John Tufton Mason, Land Baron, riding in a Segway Transporter.

In addition to the divisional awards, there was the Commander's Trophy, won by the Wright Museum for its parade of vintage WWII military vehicles and USO float featuring the Andrews Sisters and Jimmy Durante singing period hits. The Marshall's Trophy was awarded to the Patriot Riders Motorcycle Group, veterans on motorcycles festooned with patriotic bunting and flags, led by Joe Labretto.

Though this is not a presidential election year, there were plenty of political candidates marching or represented in the parade. U.S. Representative Carol Shea-Porter led the Democratic (her mother Pegg Shea also rode in the parade). The Winnipesaukee Republicans led off the Republican contingent that included state representatives supporting candidates challenging Shea-Porter as well as Governor John Lynch. Marine Corps Veteran and former State Senator Joe Kenney marched to support his wife Asa's bid for Carroll County Commissioner. Current State Senator and Wolfeboro resident Jeb Bradley was also present in the crowd.

Many spectators offered cups and bottles of water to marchers during the parade to help cope with the high temperatures. Spectators, especially children, enjoyed the lollypops handed out by Penny Sommer of the Penny Candy Shop. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.

Later, at 9:30 p.m. spectators enjoyed the annual fireworks display over Wolfeboro Bay.

Wolfeboro Police Chief Stu Chase remarked the next day that it took longer to clear the streets after the parade than it did after the fireworks.

More parade photos can be found on pages A6-A9.

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