By Curt Peterson
After a year and a half of postponements and re-postponements due to Covid-19 pandemic risks and restrictions, Hartlanders positioned along the parade route uttered a sigh of relief and joy on July Fourth – Old Home Day 2021.
Participants referred to “last year’s event,”but “last year” really meant 2019, as Hartland’s and other July Fourth events in 2020 were cancelled to avoid creating “superspreader” issues.
Aging in Hartland, celebrating its 10th anniversary as well as Independence Day, sported the only volunteer organization float, including adult and youth participants portraying AiH services for community seniors including handyman/woman chores, Meals on Wheels delivery for Volunteers in Action, and the AiH Community Nurse program.
Hartland Recreation hired an electric-powered pirate ship float spraying bubbles while spinning around to the delight of the many children waiting. Thrown candy littered the pavement, enticing kids to run gingerly into the parade route on treasure gathering expeditions.
“We’ll have to double our candy order next year,” AiH float organizer Rachel Obbard told the Mountain Times. “We ran out before we got to the announcer’s stand.”
Antique tractors, classic cars, a dozen shiny fire engines and at least one horseback rider rewarded the hundreds of onlookers who came to see one of the few parades in the Upper Valley this year. The Boy Scouts, a military Humvee, some electric bicycles and a marching band rounded out the lineup.
Former Town Clerk Clyde Jenne acted as parade emcee from an elevated podium, wearing his stovepipe hat as he announced the passing paraders.
Hartland Diner owner Nicole Bartner, who opened her popular eatery for full-service for the first time in 18 months, reported a hungry capacity crowd who almost cleaned out her entire stock of food by mid-afternoon. Bartner and her staff prepared and served 120 meals.
Organization and food booths festooned the recreation fields next to the Hartland Library. Aging in Hartland booth-minders reported brisk interest in information, free blood-pressure readings, a community needs questionnaire and some volunteer sign-ups.
The Conservation Commission booth was also busy, distributing information about current and planned projects in the community and the region.