An enthusiastic crowd of locals and visitors alike gathered in Warren Village on Monday for the 73rd annual Warren Fourth of July parade, organized by Susan Klein and emceed by Doug Bergstein and Alison Duckworth. Win and Maggie Smith were this year’s grand marshals. The theme was “Liberty.”
The cannon sounded shortly after 10 a.m. and the festivities began with elaborate floats, clever political signs, motor bikes and antique vehicles, local politicians (though no Bernie Sanders this year) and much more. Reproductive rights, civil liberties and the Supreme Court were prevalent themes; one float depicted a larger-than-life toilet that liberties were being flushed down, while one group rode in on “the five jackasses of the apocalypse.”
Lynn Osborn, Warren, said, “The Prickly Mountain community made (as usual) a memorable float for the annual parade theme of “Liberty” in Warren, VT. Lady Liberty wore a sad look and the single word “Hope” as she appeared, larger than life, coming down Main Street, reminding me of the approach of the “Monster from the Id” from Forbidden Planet, a 1950s sci-fi movie. The human-driven float stopped, intermittently, for a skit: Holding the scales of justice, Lady Liberty bowed her head in sorrow as a tall “fat cat” in a dark suit put a sack of money on one side of the scales and the six Supremes moved a large finger to tip the scale. The float was surrounded by others, in costumes holding signs protesting the recent Supreme Court decisions that take away the reproductive rights of women, allow for more widespread use of guns throughout our supposedly civil society, and hamper the ability of national agencies to do their work.”
The parade was live-streamed by Mad River Valley Television from the deck of The Warren Store with Sugarbush communications manager John Bleh providing master of ceremony services from the porch of the Pitcher Inn. Mad River Valley Television also had a float in the parade with camera operator Tony Italiano filming an inside-out version of the parade while his colleague Glynnis Cronin interacting with the crowd as they progressed through the street.
Some lucky parade goers received gift cards to local businesses from Sugarbush staff as the Sugarbush float passed. The resort handed out $3000 in local gift cards during the parade.
The parade judges were Karen Anderson, David Dion, Trish Hopkins, Bob Meany, Victoria Crowne and special guest Representative Maxine Grad. The results were as follows:
Best on Theme: Prickly Mountain Crew; Best in Show: Liberty Valley w/ Sickie the Ambulance; Best Dance Routine: Librarians of the Mad River Valley and Beyond; Best Political Promotional: Joe Benning; Best Community Promotional: Mad River Rotary; Best Commercial: Vee’s Flowers; Most Team Spirit: Sugarbush; Most Political: The Uterus Crew; Most Patriotic: Asa MacDonald; Most Environmental: Warren Village and Sellers Family; Most Cooperative Coops: Mad River Glen and Cabot; Best Kids: Sculpture School; Most Inclusive: Freedom to Be Me (LGBTQ); Most Elegant: Chris Butch; Covid Success: AJ Recycling; Most Philanthropic: Free Wheelin’; Best Antique Farm Vehicle: The Keiths’ tractors; Best Antique Cars: Appletons, Wares and Steinman/Rodgers; Best Motor Bike: Free Range Rippers; Best eBike: FlatLander Express; Best 1 Person Float: Funky Yeti; Best Hair Doo: Buddy the Alpaca; Best 4 Footed Participant: Green Mountain Dog Camp; Most Community Oriented: Mind the Gap (Roxbury that is); Most Liberty: Valley Dems; Best Newcomer: Fluffy (Beta Technologies); Best Family: Wayfarer Farm; Best in Communication: Mad River Television; Most Optimistic: Superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter; Most Musical: Mad River Light & Sound w/ Bifler; Funniest: Yestermorrow; Smallest Float: Rocking 80s Girls; Best Wave: Mckayla Kingsbury as Miss Liberty; Most Opportunistic: Liberty Queens; Best Bribe: Zen Barn; Best Sneak Entry: Birthday Boy Tiger Baird; Welcome Back: Hap’s Garage; and Just Because: Doug Ricketts. In an email, Doug Bergstein wrote, “Thanks to Mad River Rotary (don’t forget the Duck Race on Labor Day weekend) for taking on this event and to the incredible Susan Klein for her tireless organization to make the parade a reality. Shoutout to all the Mad River Valley fire departments and ambulance squads.”
The party continued with music on the porch of The Warren Store and fun and games at Brooks Field at Warren School. In the evening, folks gathered at Lincoln Peak for music and fireworks.