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Annual Parade Celebrates Hartford High

  • Hailey Rogers, 8, left, prepares to hand out candy with fellow Brownies before the Hartford Alumni Happening Parade in White River Junction, Vt. on Saturday, June 29, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March

    Hailey Rogers, 8, left, prepares to hand out candy with fellow Brownies before the Hartford Alumni Happening Parade in White River Junction, Vt. on Saturday, June 29, 2013.
    Valley News - Libby March Purchase photo reprints »

  • Stephen Peyton of Wilder, Vt., 7, watches as his brother Connor Peyton, 5, downs the last drips of his chocolate ice cream after the Hartford Alumni Happening parade near Lyman Point Park in White River Junction, Vt. on Saturday, June 29, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March

    Stephen Peyton of Wilder, Vt., 7, watches as his brother Connor Peyton, 5, downs the last drips of his chocolate ice cream after the Hartford Alumni Happening parade near Lyman Point Park in White River Junction, Vt. on Saturday, June 29, 2013.
    Valley News - Libby March Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sandra Smith (formerly Sandra Freitas) of White River Junction, Vt., center, laughs with fellow Hartford Class of 1953 alumni, watching the Hartford Alumni Happening Parade from Sabino Romano's yard in White River Junction, Vt. on Saturday, June 29, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March

    Sandra Smith (formerly Sandra Freitas) of White River Junction, Vt., center, laughs with fellow Hartford Class of 1953 alumni, watching the Hartford Alumni Happening Parade from Sabino Romano's yard in White River Junction, Vt. on Saturday, June 29, 2013.
    Valley News - Libby March Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hailey Rogers, 8, left, prepares to hand out candy with fellow Brownies before the Hartford Alumni Happening Parade in White River Junction, Vt. on Saturday, June 29, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March
  • Stephen Peyton of Wilder, Vt., 7, watches as his brother Connor Peyton, 5, downs the last drips of his chocolate ice cream after the Hartford Alumni Happening parade near Lyman Point Park in White River Junction, Vt. on Saturday, June 29, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March
  • Sandra Smith (formerly Sandra Freitas) of White River Junction, Vt., center, laughs with fellow Hartford Class of 1953 alumni, watching the Hartford Alumni Happening Parade from Sabino Romano's yard in White River Junction, Vt. on Saturday, June 29, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March

White River Junction — Emily Guylbault held her Yorkie, Moose, in her arms and watched a group of young girls tap dance to Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus in the bed of a truck.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Guylbault said as she began to sway to the music.

Guylbault is from Birmingham, Ala., and moved to Hartford five years ago. As floats and cars drove by, Guylbault recognized several people she’s met in her short time in the Upper Valley, yelling out, “Hi Jerry!” to a man driving an antique car.

“It’s a beautiful place,” Guylbault said. “It’s so homey and different than the big city. It’s so sweet and friendly here.”

Guylbault was one of many people who lined the streets of White River Junction yesterday for the Hartford Alumni Day Parade, which was filled with floats tricked out in a winter Olympics theme.

Graduates from the Class of 1978 dressed in swim suits and caps and dove off a diving block onto a trampoline made to look like a pool of water. Fellow classmates wore ski gear and an ice sculpture of a bobsled team melted on the back of the float.

A John Deere tractor pulled members of the Class of 1988 as they held Olympic-style torches. A group of clowns on tiny scooters drove in and out of the back of a box truck and began attempting wheelies.

Dezarae Durkee, of Sharon, pointed to the Class of 2003’s float, covered in fake snow and a white pine tree and said, “That’s my class right there.”

Sitting in his stroller, Durkee’s 3-year-old son, Zayah, pointed at old-time hot rods and let out a loud screech.

“He gets more excited about the old cars than he does the new ones,” Durkee said.

Nearby, Randee Varela, of Hartford, watched the parade while holding a red leash that was connected to her 9-month-old pet pig, Albert Einswine.

Albert was a graduation gift for Varela’s daughter, Sierra, who graduated from Hartford High School earlier this month. Albert received a lot of attention from passersby as Varela told him to sit and then fed him an apple slice.

“We’ve wanted a pig forever. He’s such a good boy,” Varela said, adding that Albert is potty trained and likes to stick his head out car windows like a dog.

Once the parade was finished and the floats were broken down and hauled away, a small group from the Class of 1963 stood in front of the White River School. They were in town for their 50th class reunion and each had participated in the parade.

About 30 members of the class had joined a cookout at a home on Route 14 on Friday night and then gathered for a pancake breakfast before yesterday’s parade. The class has a reunion every five years, Rowena Young Rossa said, and she’s never missed one.

“I was always glad that I grew up in a small town because we knew everybody,” Rossa said. Rossa now lives in Florida and spends her summers in New York, but said she keeps in touch with her classmates through email and texting.

The group had plans to gather at a classmate’s house in Enfield after the parade, but before they left, they reminisced about how they were the last class to graduate from the old high school, which is now the White River School.

“We did such a great job that they shut down the building after we left,” Rossa said, laughing.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.