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North Litchfield: Families make parade a vacation tradition

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Chiara and Allison Best have participated in every North Litchfield July 4 parade since the beginning 26 years ago. Dressed in red, white and blue, they were back on Monday for another golf cart ride through the neighborhood to celebrate the nation’s 240th birthday.

Lilly Grace Howard started her own tradition. Born June 2, she was in the arms of her great-grandmother Hazel Puyet in a golf cart driven by grandmother Nicole Dennis.

“This is the highlight of our trip,” said vacationer Blakely Burch of Florida behind the wheel of a decorated golf cart in the parade line-up.

The North Litchfield parade is an informal affair, to say the least. There are no judges, prizes or restrictions, except on vehicles with internal-combustion engines. Paraders can throw candy or beads to the crowds lining the neighborhood’s streets. Parade participants usually decorate golf carts with American flags, but there was one cart decorated with beer cans. Another had a replica of the Stanley Cup made of tin foil to salute the Pittsburgh Penguins ice hockey championship. There were plenty of bicycles and wagons and even a hoverboard taking part.

Dogs got to ride along with their owners. Staci Howard brought her pooch, Spur, and Barbara Howard had Mopsey.

Patriotic streamers, balloons and bunting turned the route into a river of red, white and blue. Two riders in cowgirl hats, representing the Kelly family, were having a blast throwing plastic beads to people along the route.

One cart was decorated with an inflatable birthday cake and had Santa Claus at the wheel. Its theme was “Happy Everything” and young men walked along side dressed to celebrate not only Independence Day but Valentine’s Day, Easter and Thanksgiving.

The same guys dressed as island girls last year in coconut shell bikini tops. No rules, remember?

The parade was over as suddenly as it began, the streets littered with hard candy and broken strings of beads. It was time to reload the golf carts for a day on the beach and get back to vacationing.

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