Chester revels in Alumni Day Parade magic

The Chester High/Green Mountain Union High Alumni Parade planners could not have asked for blue skies and warmer weather Saturday morning, more engaged participants and a more enthusiastic crowd.  It was a chance for classmates to get reacquainted and old friends to reminisce.

According to Alumni Association member Chris Walker, who helped organize this year’s successful event, the prom king was Gary Gaudette and queen was Ozzie Jewett. Scholarships from the Alumni Association were given out Friday evening to Hannah Buffum and Cassandra Cenate.

Walker added that in the annual parade float contest, the Class of 1983 won 1st Place, with 2nd going to the Class of 1994 and 3rd Place going to the Class of 1969. Corporate sponsors were The Chester Telegraph, Chester Hardware, M&M Construction and American Legion Post 67.

Click any photo to launch the photo gallery, shot by Chester resident and architect Claudio Veliz.

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  1. Jean Petraska says:

    WE love this parade each year – please don’t let it go – I agree with Justin, Chester needs to keep the things that made it Chester – nothing wrong with small town traditions and friendly living.

  2. Justin Turco says:

    I was on my unicycle on Saturday. I rode that same unicycle in this parade for the first time 40 years ago. As a kid, I lived in the little house next to the Whiting Library. My mom used to send me across the street to Boardmans Market for rootbeer & banana popsicles after lunch. Later my Uncle Raymond Gould owned the market. This was when there were still a few of the great maples and towering elm trees lining Main Street. Every kid in town rode their bike in the parade. A prize was given to the best decorated bike. The Alumni Day Parade still brings me back to those days in my mind.

    Looking at the pictures above, it caught my attention that the Class of 1969 had a sign on the front of the tractor that says, “hanging at the wall.” I would say that this is the wall that encloses the cemetery behind the brick Baptist Church. If you are looking at the front of the church, the wall is on the left side. This was a popular spot to hang out back in the day. If I remember right, you could pull right in and park. Sometime I’ll have to walk over and set my butt up there for a one time look at Chester as those kids saw it back in 1969.

    Also on parade day, we ran into Ronnie Patch and he gave us some history on an old wool “crusher” hat that he was wearing, which was passed around from one class to the next back in the teens. You have to see the little pictures and sayings the kids of old put on it. One said, “Who put the Jam in so and so’s boot?” Ronnie told us: There was a play going on in the Town Hall. Costume changes took place in the now removed LOOF Lodge that was previously connected to the Town Hall next door by a second story, iron bridge / catwalk. When so and so hustled over to the loof lodge to quickly change into the next costume, he slid his feet into his boots to find that someone had filled them with jelly! The names of those involved are on the hat but you have to know who is who or you’d never know.

    I’d like to say, I think Chester also appreciated the special attention given to (Chester Chatter columnist) Ruthie Douglas. Ruthie was really sweet and a good sport to us that day. She kidded that she didn’t mind at all if we got a little fresh with her in helping her in and out of the convertible! Like you, we all think the world of her and are quite thankful to live in a town that Ruthie Douglas is part of.

    As I drove home at the end of that day, I wondered how do we “keep” Chester?

    I don’t know, but here are some thoughts.

    This paper is critical because it puts a spotlight on, and builds appreciation for “life” in our town. The parade is key.

    Keeping the infrastructure in place that enables a person to be born here and then live and work here is a big deal. Everybody can’t be a transplant. A sawmill for a few of the non-college bound to work at, a Les Allen’s style gas station/repair shop and maybe one more option for groceries in town.

    It would be nice to see a rope tow again over at the Pinnacle, the annual kids fishing derby. All afforded by spending a few less dollars on new police cars and officers to fill them. Two cops and a part timer or two, with one cruiser to share throughout the day is enough for a town like Chester. This lessens the financial burden on the common folk and business owners who make the town what it is.

    Hunting Flamstead in the fall. Fishing in the bend of the river in the summer. Hunter safety being taught to a gym full of kids at the elementary school. Neighbors who don’t mind seeing a 14 year old kid proudly riding by on his bike with a packbasket full of muskrats and a coon freshly trapped from the Williams River. We used to value these things. We should intentionally value them again.

    There is more to it than that, but these are the things that “made” Chester for me when I was a kid. The parade was a nice revisit to those times. See ya next year and around town when I get over your way. I’ve missed you.