[I started this post on the 4th of July, but uploading and captioning the photos delayed the post. Sorry!]
There’s no finer time to live in a small town in America than on the 4th of July. Essex, New York offers the quintessential Independence Day parade experience, straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting!
Although the last month and a half has brought rain, rain, rain — and ever rising lake Champlain water levels — today appears to be a welcome ellipsis. The humidity is off the charts, and the temperature was already above 80 when we awoke this morning, but at least for a short while the rain has abated. The lawns are swampy and unmowed throughout town, but the Essex running races this morning were well attended, main street is busy, there’s already a line at the ice cream shop, Penelope the Clown is entertaining pedestrians at the stoplight, and the smell of strawberry shortcake is wafting across the North Bay.
Independence Day Parade in Essex
Farm wagons and tractors costumed as patriotic floats idle north of town where officials orchestrate the parade’s start. Antique cars and farm implements, an impressive menagerie of emergency vehicles, a pair of miniature sulkies pulled by miniature donkeys, and a fleet of Shriner micro-jalopies join the excitement. Sirens wail. A pair of costumed Native American “braves” whoop and startle children. Horses carry proud equestrians. Veterans march and bear standards. A band plays. Politicos toss candy and promises. Bystanders snap photographs and point or scramble for Tootsie Rolls and caramels.
Every year it surprises me how long the Independence Day parade takes to pass. I suspect there are nearly as many participants as bystanders. Eventually the last vehicles and waving celebrants chug past Rosslyn and continue toward the center of town where judges will celebrate the best parade entry and the community clap and laugh and then make its way to Beggs Park for a barbecue and games and the always popular build-your-own-raft race.
I hope that you enjoy the photos in the gallery below!