By Gail Callahan, Contributor
As tractors thundered up from the Nichols farm Sunday, October 10, spectators along the parade route greeted the machinery with applause and whoops of joy.
The 21st Annual East Charlotte Tractor Parade took place in Charlotte with slightly more than 70 tractors. Prior to the 1 p.m. kick-off, drivers ate a sumptuous lunch at the Nichols farm, sponsored by parade organizers and the Charlotte Grange.
Parade Co-Grand Marshall David Nichols sat behind the wheel with the Rev. John Zuccaro of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church at his side.
Behind them, tractors came in an array of sizes and colors. Some towed trailers loaded with festive fall and Halloween décor, while others carried a host of people, smiling as they drove up to the Hinesburg Road intersection.
Children ran around the Spears Store lawn, and some families brought blankets and snacks to munch as they listened for tractor sounds. Donald Davenport sat a few feet away from Spear Street’s edge with his family. The Massachusetts resident eagerly awaited the event. “My twin granddaughters invited me,” said Davenport. “We’re waiting to see it. I hear it’s fabulous.”
A few feet away from Davenport, Megan Goyet and her family also waited for the event’s start. “Our son loves tractors,” said Goyet. “We know a couple of people in the parade.”
Carrie Spear, who has worn an array of town-service hats, founded the parade. In years past, the event featured lawn games and other family-friendly activities, but the arrival of COVID made a slimmed-down event a necessity, Spear said.
Spear donned a pink traffic vest and mingled with spectators. She’s aware of the vast amount of work it takes to hold the parade, and she’s thrilled to be part of it. “We want the farmers to feel appreciated. There’s no competition. I know what made this event, and it’s because everyone is equal and it’s open to anyone.”
Spear said the event went back to its roots, relying on word of mouth for advertising. It also landed on the East Charlotte Facebook page.
An endless amount of enthusiasm spilled out for the parade. Liz Royer came with her 2 ½ -year-old son Eli and Maria Godleski. Eli donned a John Deere hat, sitting snugly in his stroller.
Royer enthusiastically noted, “I’ve been coming here for 10 years. This is my fall event.”
Photos by Gail Callahan