Town Diary - July 2000
July 4th Parade at Pleasant Valley.
Shown below are photos from the annual July 4th parade in Pleasant Valley (in Barkhamsted, Connecticut). The parade starts on West River Road about three quarters of a mile north of the bridge and ends at the school in Pleasant Valley. Hundreds of people line the road to watch the fun. People marching in the parade represent various organizations from Barkhamsted and neighboring towns. But you don't have to be part of an organization to march. Anyone and everyone is invited to participate.
The parade has been held annually since the mid 1950's when the Reverend George Ackerly got things going. Reverend Ackerly had returned from India after many years there as a missionary. Before going to India, he had been the minister at the Pleasant Valley Methodist Church, and during that period had remembered that a town parade had been held on the 4th of July. He wanted to revive this tradition, so he grabbed his trombone, and, with a bunch of school kids from the neighborhood, marched through Pleasant Valley. Since then the parade has grown in size as you can see in these photos. George would be proud.
Shown below is the Star Band which gathers together only twice a year just for this event: once to practice and then to march on parade day. Led by Will Minton, the band has, like the parade, grown in size over the last several years and sounds great! Prior to the Star Band, parade marchers would carry boom boxes to provide the patriotic music.
Below, the parade marchers head for the closing ceremony in front of the elementary school. Shown just to the left of the stop sign, directing traffic, is the resident State trooper, John Bement.
Shown below at the closing ceremony is the Star Band and Barkhamsted First Selectman Mike Fox (dark blue shirt). Mike has just presented William Sexauer (in the dark suit) with a framed proclamation from Governor Roland regarding Mr. Sexauer's service in the Navy during World War II. Mr. Sexauer was honorary Grand Marshall of the parade, and is a long time Barkhamsted resident and former selectman. Mr. Sexauer saw action in many theaters of the war, from North Africa to Italy to the Normandy landing and later in the Pacific. Because of the war he did not finish high school but through the work of Mike Fox and others, Mr. Sexauer received a high school diploma in recognition of his service to our country.
Shown below is the large crowd watching the closing ceremonies at the conclusion of the parade outside of Barkhamsted Elementary School.
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