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May the 4th Be With You: Hartland’s Parade Offers Something for Everyone

  • From left, Jaciel Matos, of Delaware, and Senasqueris Matos, of New York, watch Hartland's annual Fourth of July Parade with their brother, Hartland resident Tony Matos carrying his grandson Oliver McIntyre, 2, in Hartland, Vt., on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. Tony Matos watched the parade with his daughter and is now carrying on the tradition with his grandchildren. "Only I can carry him," Matos said. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Kids scatter the pavement as they try to pick up as much candy, being thrown by members of Hartland's Fourth of July parade, as they can in Hartland, Vt., on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Carol Lyman, of Hartland, Vt., throws a handful of candy to kids as she and her husband, David, drive their hot rod in Hartland's annual Fourth of July parade, in Hartland, Vt., on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Bob Malila, of Walpole, N.H., throws candy to kids as he drives his tractor in Hartland's annual Fourth of July parade in Hartland, Vt., on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Harper Fallon, 11, of Quechee, Vt., finds a spot to watch the annual Hartland Fourth of July parade in Hartland, Vt., on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • People of all ages watch the tractors drive down Skunk Hollow Road in Hartland, Vt., as part of the annual Fourth of July parade on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. Among those in the parade were Boy Scouts, a band, people dressed in Star Wars attire and classic cars. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Hartland — The antique tractors kept coming, one after the other, 32 in all. Some bore defunct brand names like McCormick Farmall, Allis-Chalmers, and Ford Powermaster, while a spate of John Deeres stood out in their signature green.

The tractors were among the highlights of Hartland’s Independence Day parade, which combined the red, white and blue common to July Fourth festivities with costumes and signs inspired by this year’s Star Wars theme.

A member of the Hartland Energy Committee touted the body’s energy-efficiency agenda with a sign reading, “May the renewable force be with you,” while representatives of the Hartland Wellness Center held posters promoting Zumbini, yoga, and spin classes as The Imperial March blared ominously from their car’s stereo.

Suzanne Nothnagle watched the parade from a folding chair outside the Hartland Historical Society building, where she was selling copies of her new book, A Summer of Hartland History, for $12.99 apiece.

The book is aimed at Hartland’s youth. “When a kid grows up somewhere, that’s where they’re from,” she said. “That’s why it’s important for kids to know the town’s history.”

Nothnagle attended her first Hartland parade 45 years ago and said she’s made it to most since.

“I may have missed a few now and then,” she said. The biggest difference between Wednesday’s parade and those of old? “A lot more people. It was a smaller town then.”

The 35-minute parade kicked off shortly after 10 a.m. on Wednesday, with attendees lining Vermont Route 12 between Bischoff Lane and Town Hall. The sun shone brightly overhead, the sky completely clear.

Members of the Upper Valley Vixens roller derby team skated down the street, their jerseys labeled with such amusing nicknames as “Violet O’Fender.” After the tractors came the firetrucks, with Hartland’s engines joined by ones from Hartford, Ascutney, Windsor, West Windsor and West Weathersfield. Their heavy-duty wheels turned many a helpless lollipop to dust.

Parade participants kept the crowds cool with water balloons, Super Soakers and a hand-pumped hose. Several misting stations also beckoned the overheated.

For Vickie Seaver, seeing animals in the parade was a treat.

“It was too hot for the horses today, but I’m glad they had the Jerseys,” she said, referring to the four cows shepherded by the Hartland Cattle Club. Two calves, decorated with blue and red ribbons, were a particular crowd-pleaser.

Another animal that drew fawning reactions from the parade-goers was Scott Thibault’s dog. “I’m the guy with the corgi,” he said. “Nobody knows my name. I’m Teddy’s person.”

Thibault and his son David, who live in White River Junction, recovered from the parade beneath the tent set up behind the Hartland Recreation Center. Their day was only beginning: The two were planning to return in the evening to coordinate parking for the town’s fireworks show.

“The fireworks are a big deal for us,” Thibault said. “Hartland has an amazing set of fireworks for such a small town.”

He predicted this year’s crowd would be big — too big, perhaps. “We may have a capacity problem,” he said.

In any case, Thibault said, he values the parking gig. It allows him to engage with the Hartland community and collect donations for David’s scouting troop. Such fundraising covered half the cost of a recent whitewater rafting trip to Maine, he said.

For Hartland resident Nicki Buck, Wednesday’s turnout was reflective of the town’s character.

“We’ve got a good community,” she said. “Just the heat, and everybody’s still here, it’s pretty awesome.”

In what’s become a yearly tradition, Buck attended the parade with friends and family from out of state. “It’s an annual shindig for the Pennsylvania and Maryland crowd,” she said.

Eight-year-old Eva Stearns, of Claremont, found the whole experience enjoyable. “I liked everything,” she said.

The candy parade participants tossed into the crowd was especially welcome. Stearns said she collected more last Halloween, but still came away with several pocketfuls.

“We got so much Smarties,” she said.

Gabe Brison-Trezise can be reached at g.brisontrezise@gmail.com.