Good bit of discussion about July 4th celebration in public forums recently. Worcester celebrated "Independence Day" long before the Historical Society or fireworks. Here is a description from 81 years ago, as recorded in the Montpelier Evening Argus, with snarky, quirky editorial comments in italics.
“In spite of the weather…
What else is new?
“… practically the entire population of the town…
That would have been 396 souls, according to the census of 1940.
“…gathered at the village to celebrate the 4th of July. The exercises went off with a bang and everybody enjoyed the day despite the rain.
Rain or shine, we know how to party!
“The parade, scheduled to be at 10:30, was held at noon.
The color guard was probably late arriving.
“Leading was Mrs. Betty Fielders mounted on a spirited horse and carrying the U. S. Flag, and Lonny Martin, mounted on another spirited horse. They were followed by a group of Grangers. [Worcester’s Grange sponsored the parade.] Then came the floats, the Grange decorated in yellow and white, carrying a member of the Grange; the 4-H "Hill Billies" and the "Vermont Helpers" in an evergreen decorated float with the boys displaying their hens and calves…
What about the roosters and knees?
“…and the girls demonstrating their cooking and sewing; after this came the Ladies Aid [a WW II organization] on an attractively decorated float in blue and white with Mrs. Laura Kellogg and Mrs. Mary Maxham busily engaged in spinning, and dressed in keeping with the ‘spinning days’ and the motto 'The church serves the world’ marking this float. A Victory float, [Remember, this is 1943] "United we Stand," decorated in red, white and blue…
“…and carrying small boys…
No large boys were allowed?
“…dressed to represent the different branches of the service was very attractive and timely. Then a very attractive float decorated in evergreen carrying tiny girls…
Not just small, but tiny?
“dressed in Red Cross costumes deserved special attention.
They were so cute!
“After this a group of attractive ponies and horses.
No unattractive or spirited ponies and horses permitted.
“Another feature was a march in the hall with the tiny Red Cross nurses participating.
They really were so cute.
“The judges found it very difficult to award the ribbon but after much thought gave first prize to the 4-H float, 2nd to Ladies Aid and 3rd to the Grange.
Hey - what about the tiny nurses? They were overlooked. They must have been devastated!
“First ribbon for mounts went to Katherine Bowen, second to Lucille Maxham and third to Ethel Persons and for the ‘horribles,’ Earl Lewis.
Not very cute at all!
"Following the parade…
Probably at about 12:10 PM.
“…a cafeteria dinner was served in the hall to about 200. After dinner Sicily's orchestra from Marshfield rendered a delightful program…
No rock and roll?
“and a service flag for our boys was dedicated. This part of the program was in charge of Rev. F. H. Cresey who then introduced the guest speaker, Ray Daniels, from Montpelier.
No one left the building, and the children were quiet.
“Then came the sports, consisting of tugs of war for boys and men, and girls and women; three legged races, running races and ball games. These sports finished the afternoon exercises.
"At eight o'clock the orchestra gave an out-door concert after which the crowd assembled in the hall for the vaudeville show and amateur program.
[All the vaudeville acts, which were mainly songs and skits, were listed with the names of the presenters. This blogger is getting tired of typing, so here he includes just those names:] Ida Welch, Ida Wheeler, Alberta Barney, Lanny Martin, Earl Day, Betty Fielder and Gyneth Hogaboom. If you want to know about what anyone did, check with this blogger by email (DBCabot@aol.com) and he'll let you know.]
“After these presentations, the amateurs took over.
Why they are singled out as “amateurs?"
[All the amateur acts, which were also mainly songs and skits, were listed with the names of the presenters.This blogger is getting even more tired of typing, so here he includes include just those names: Eldon Brown, two Marshfield girls, Ida Cooney, Barbara Cooney, Mrs. Hinckley, two girls from Shady Rill, Ida Welch, Eva Martin, Mervin Wells, Mrs. Raymond Utton, Wendall Billado yodeled, John Alden, Delma Story, Mrs. Fletcher and Earl Lewis.]
Hoping to recoup from the “horribles,” no doubt.
According to this vivid description of Worcester's 4th of July, 1943, prizes for all this talent were awarded as follows: "First prize, $2, Wendell Billado…
This guy could really yodel!
"Second prize, $1, Mrs. Hinckley, third prize 50 cents, Mervin Wells.
But wait! That's not all.
"After this the floor was cleared for dancing and the festivities closed with this social hour.
It had to be after midnight!
“Hot dogs and cola were served during the dance.
Finally. A food vendor.
“Between $80 and $90 were the receipts of the day."
And, no doubt, there was hardly a peep to be heard the following morning because everyone slept in. A good time was had by all.