This Parade Strikes Out the Band
by Robert KienerI came to Moscow, the tiny hamlet that straddles the Little River, just south of Stowe, Vt., to see a woman about a lawn chair. Or, more precisely, several women about several lawn chairs. The women, namely the Moscow All Ladies Lawn Chair Drill Team, are, according to some people, the real talent behind Moscow's quirky Fourth of July parade.
"Talent?... Hardly!" says Lynne Scarpa, one of the veteran marchers who each year thrill (well, perhaps that's a bit strong) paradegoers with their synchronized folding and unfolding of lawn chairs to the strains of John Philip Sousa. "Talent has very little to do with this parade," she says.
Each Fourth of July morning, somewhere around 10 o'clock, most of Moscow's 100-and-some residents gather on Tom Hamilton's front lawn to take part in what has become one of Vermont's - and the nation's - most offbeat Independence Day parades. Unlike other parades, the Moscow version has no organizing committee, no grand marshal, no fancy floats, and - most important - no pretension. What it does have is a healthy helping of wry Vermont humor...Another change; the recent absence of horses from the parade. "Stowe's sirens scared them away," Ms. Scarpa says. "We've asked them to turn them off this year." Many hope for the return of the horses. For years, Moscow's newest residents were responsible for following the parade with a wheelbarrow and shoveling up horse droppings. "It was our way of saying, 'Welcome to Moscow,' " Hamilton says.
Although there were no horses in last year's parade, the hamlet's newest residents, George and Jacquie Gay, dutifully brought up the rear, armed with a shovel and a wheelbarrow. To make them feel part of the event, their children preceded them in a pickup truck, dropping horse manure over the tailgate...
Christian Science Monitor