For nearly two decades, Peacham's Independence Day parade has looked a little different than most.
"I've been farming here in town for 44 years," said William Goss of Barnet. But every year on Independence Day, Goss takes a break from tending his fields to show off his tractor in Peacham's annual Fourth of July parade.
"It takes tinkering, but it keeps on going," Goss said of his 1972 John Deere, and it isn't even the oldest model on hand. Some are antiques from the 40s and 50s and others are shiny new models with air conditioning.
"This parade started about 15 to 20 years ago. It started with a modest number. There were like six, and two or three of them were lawn tractors and every year it's grown," said Rob Ide, Vermont's DMV Commissioner and Peacham native. Ide is a tractor buff himself. Since his 1949 model died on the way to the parade, he's helping organizers corral the more than 50 tractors as they roll in.
Each tractor gets a homemade sign with the owner's name and the tractor's make and model. Rachel Reis hopes her girly additions to her dad's tractor will call attention to her very important message. "This is a John Deere 2001, and I'm sponsoring stop-bullying.gov," she said.
And parade organizers have a message of their own. Every year they use the train of tractors to recognize a local group. This year's festivities are in honor of Peacham road crew members who have been working hard to fix roads damaged by spring flooding.
After much anticipation, dozens of tractors chugged up Mack Mountain Road, from smallest to largest.
"It's just so fun to watch. Some of the big ones you think are going to be new ones and then they're older," said Kathy Robb of Barre.
Robb came for a slice of hometown Americana in the heart of Peacham. She and the rest of the patriotic crowd of a few hundred cheered the tractors all the way up the hill. "I like the older towns that are proud of their history and are into it. We have to keep that going for kids so they know where they came from."
The main selling point for the kids, of course, was the candy. And what's better than a little, good old fashioned fun on our nation's Independence Day.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
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