THIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
Fourth of July activities: 10 a.m. - North Litchfield
By Jackie R. Broach
The key to enjoying the North Litchfield parade from the sidelines is getting a good seat, according to those who turn out for the event year after year.
Laurin Baker, a part-time Litchfield resident, staked out a spot at the corner of Hanover Drive and Fenwick Road last year.
“This way I get to see it two times,” he said from one of the lawn chairs he and a group of friends set out.
The parade starts on Hanover at 10 a.m. every year and travels south, turning down Fenwick and heading east to Parker, then south to Eutaw, west to Lakeshore, north to Fenwick and east back to Hanover.
But regulars warn many of the entrants drop out and wander off after the first turn, so to see the parade in its entirety, it’s best to find a place to sit or stand along Hanover.
Linda Mercer gets a first class view every year, as she lives on Hanover. She brings a chair out to the edge of her lawn and watches with her dog, Chloe, stationed on her lap.
“This is a good parade and all I have to do is come outside,” she said.
She wouldn’t miss it for anything.
The North Litchfield parade started in the mid- 1980s with a handful of golf carts, said Kitty Clay, its unofficial hostess. As the years passed, it grew steadily and expanded to include walkers, skateboarders, bicyclists and an array of vehicles — but gas-powered engines are forbidden.
Last year, the parade had more than 100 golf carts, many decorated elaborately, while the year before it had nearly twice that many.
There are always more people in the parade than watching, Clay said.
What sets the parade apart is its neighborhood feel. There are no prizes or registration and most of the entrants are decorated by kids and families on the night before the parade or the morning of.
Clay and a handful of helpers set up a refreshment stand on Hanover and pass out watermelon and lemonade to participants as they drive by and after the parade winds down.
Popular decorations include bunting, flags, pinwheels, all in red, white and blue, often topped off with CD players blaring patriotic music.
It’s a completely laid-back affair, so for those who would like to watch or participate in the parade, just show up before 10 a.m. The regulars will make you feel welcome, Clay said.