Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Parade with a Twist

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Since Barkhamsted has a parade on July 4th and not Memorial Day, we head out for Norfolk, CT where my husband grew up and where we lived for several years. In years past he has marched with the Veterans and whether he marches or not, helps his life long friend pass out soda at the end to the band members. This is tradition.

These pictures are from years past. I believe it is the most unique parade in that, well I'll keep that as a surprise for later.

First you have to get up early. The parade starts at 9 am from the town hall. Your optimum vantage point is the town green facing the Historical Society side of the street. You get the first view from here starting with the Veterans. NW Regional #7 sends up both their bands--this is the reason for the early hour of the parade. After playing here they are bussed up to Winsted for that parade. A side note: my husband is so appreciative that the new band leader chooses songs appropriate for the day. He was really annoyed by the band leader who had them playing "Summertime". That's nice, but we want Patriotic songs.

This small hometown parade has all the scouting groups, often Little League, sometimes Chorus Angelicis, firemen and trucks, Lions club and sometimes their blimp, kids on bikes and just about anyone who has a group who wants to march. It may take ten minutes to watch it, but wait there's more.

After they pass by you on the street, you turn around and walk to the other side of the green where the parade has stopped marching but are still in formation--all except for the Veterans who are to give the gun salute. Taps are played and echoed and the parade marches on so you get to see it all again.

Now for the full effect, after the parade passes by, you get to follow it in the streets--be a part of the parade. You go down the hill. When they stop, you find a place to stand to the side. Down by the monument there is a prayer, a speech, the calling of the names, ringing of the bell, taps again and the echo and prayer. After that, just hold onto your hat, you really get your money's worth here, you can watch the parade get into formation and here's the most unique, precious thing about this parade--you can watch it again!!! Three times in one day--better than instant replay, as it isn't exactly the same. You will hear new songs from the bands and a chance to see someone in the parade that you missed. For us, we see more people we know in the crowd than in the parade.

From there you can go to the Firehouse where they have donuts and punch. My husband has hurried on ahead to the town hall to help pass out the soda. I will slowly mosey on up because as I said it is "up".

So, if you get a trivia question that says, "Where can you see the same parade three times in one day?" Now, you know the answer. Hometown fun at it's best. If you are looking for more fun, at noon the annual Norfolk Road Race kicks off. My husband and daughter have participated in that too. My daughter...well, that's another story. She probably won't read this so I could embarrass her...well, maybe next time.

Happy Memorial Day to one and all and especially, Thank You Veterans!

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