By Royal Barnard
For more than half a century the City of Rutland has hosted without interruption the most famous Halloween Parade in all of America. The dream child of Rutland reporter and comic fan, Tom Fagan, the event has brought Marvel Comics celebrities, ghouls, goblins and thousands of viewers from everywhere for decades. In 2020 the pandemic would not allow that.
Initially there was discussion, but no plan came forth for an alternative. Norma Montaigne, who designed, built and acted with Drum Journeys of the Earth Skelly Dancers, who have led the parade for years, came up with a proposal. She and friends Zip Barnard and Claude Derosier imagined a “Parade of Windows” using downtown venues to show wonderful exhibits and images of parades past.
In a great tragedy, Montaigne died in an auto accident in the middle of the effort. Barnard and Derosier were left alone to make something work.
In the mean time Eric Malette of the Paramount Theater was working to assembled a group of supporters to at least have a fireworks display at the fair grounds. There was hope for a celebration. In a frantic effort to create an event, downtown merchants including property owner and city supporter, Mark Foley and others, agreed to make space for giant blowups of past floats to appear in their windows.
Claude Derosier worked with Awesome Graphics to reproduce large scale image blowups. Zip Barnard worked with many on logistics. Gary Meitrott of Drum Journeys produced an audio presentation. Nikki Hindman of the Downtown Partnership jumped in with financial and organizational support.
The Rutland Herald opened its photo files for choosing great images. There would be a parade…. of windows… 27 of them filled with fun and memories.
The Downtown Partnership and the Friends of Norma Montaigne greatly appreciate and thank Killington Resort and Casella Construction for their fabulous lighted windows. Congratulations for all the wonderful displays in downtown Rutland business windows. The fireworks were a perfect finale.
Rutland is a proud city and once again has proved that we can survive anything that comes our way. Rutland’s No. 1 in America Halloween parade survived and it will continue in 2021. Norma Montaigne lives in our hearts and she will be there too. RIP.