Winchendon 250 Years Old

Winchendon 250th

Winchendon Summer Solstice

There is nothing like a good old fashion Parade! The one that was put on in Winchendon at their 250th anniversary celebration was outstanding. This was a grand community event that started with the early morning Summer Solstice activities and marketplace.

Vendors were set up in parking lots, play grounds, baseball field, and the church lawn, also along the sides of Central Street. There were the regular vendors in their food, ice cream, fried dough and novelties mobiles. The specialty craft vendors dotted the field next to the Clark Memorial and the lawn at the large granite Unitarian Universalist Church in down town. They were preparing to sell their wares to the masses that were expected.

A stage was erected where a number of bands would perform filling the air with music from many different decades. The children were to be thrilled by a number of bouncing, jumping and climbing apparatuses that were being blown up or hoisted into position. The activities of preparation lasted for hours.

The sun was shining with only a few puffy clouds and a light breeze. The temperature was between the high sixties and low seventies. It was a perfect day for such a memorable event and celebration.

Winchendon 250th Parade

You really knew that something big was about to happen when the 300 yards of the Central Street was blocked off with orange cones and barriers. Traffic was being detoured up and around the center of Central Street where another band stand platform was to hold the announcer, grand marshal and dignitaries. The street was now one large sidewalk.

The first people began to arrive around 8am, only a few at first, they walked lazily from vendor to vendor checking out the place. Many carried coffees in one hand and chairs in the other. Within an hour they began coming from everywhere, streaming in like ants to a bowl of sugar water. By noon it was a crowd with activity everyplace. The smells and the sounds filled the air and tickled your senses.

The Kiwanis club was cooking, a cloud of smoke rose from their grills, the smell of delicious hot dogs, hamburgers and fries blew slowly across the parking lot. The cotton candy, popcorn, sodas and other goodies could be found in the hands of many walking about. The band had started to play and there was chatter everywhere you turned. The lines continued to grow at all the activities, with the longest at the kids bouncing climbing and jumping area. The vendors saw their share of customers and all seemed happy!

Winchendon 250th FlagThen came the ladder truck. It extended its long powerful ladder high above the center of Central Street about 100ft from the announcer’s platform. From the top of the ladder was hung a massive American flag that flapped in the summer breeze. More and more people arrived carrying chairs, blankets and small coolers. They began to line the street as far as one could see up and down on both sides. The PARADE was coming!

It was around 3:45 when the Star Spangle Banner was played while everyone stood in silence.

The event began with the fire engines sirens blasted in the distance. One after another, dozens from surrounding towns, made their way down the street. Then a stream of floats, bands, clowns, military trucks, state police on horseback, antique trucks and cars, mini’s driven by the Shriners and groups of all sorts thrilled the spectators. This precession continued for over 2 hours.

Many of the military and police saluted the massive flag as they approached and passed underneath. Bands stopped and played a piece in front of the stage just down from the American flag. The crowds JUMPED as the black powder muskets where fired and filled the area with smoke. All ages, young and old, enjoyed the marvelous celebration.

The laughter and awes could be heard up and down the street as each group passed by their chosen spot on the side of Central Street, Winchendon, USA. There was no sign of anyone getting anxious to leave. But like all great events they must end and the crowds slowly dispersed as the end of the parade passed them by.

The Festivities Continue! The vendors are now busier than ever working frantically to meet the needs of the grand crowd.

Fireworks! There are fireworks and there are FIREWORKS!! These were definitely the later. Just about dusk the crowd that disperses only hours earlier began to flood back into Central Street and the Field next to the Clark. The Bands continued to play and glow sticks were now dancing in the field. By the dim street lights and lights off the fried dough cart, a sea of heads seemed to move in rhythm everywhere.

Then the first of many beautiful rockets began to fill the June night sky while exploding with astounding brilliance. Again the people were thrilled by the spectacular display. The lights and music combined to set a wonderful stage for the final encore of a perfectly planned 250th anniversary celebration.

Hats off and a standing applause to all those that took part in the months of work that it must of taken to pull off such an event. Bravo!

Posted on Jul 15, 2014

Translate »