Sheila Borden holds the grand prize trophy for the upcoming Fourth of July parade float.
The Westport Fourth of July Parade will include new props, a new time and be hosted by new organizers.
Sheila Borden, town clerk and her husband, Irwin, decided to take on the responsibility of arranging the parade for 2012 in place of Jeff and Carol Schwoebel to ensure their three grandchildren had a chance to throw candy.
“Someone had to step up and we had to do it for the grandkids,” Borden said.
Borden, with the support of the Westport Chamber of Commerce, has purchased several trophies for the winning float makers. Participants may be awarded for several awards, including Best Float Category, Best Appearing Antique Car and Best Appearing Stock Car. For fire departments, awards will be given to the department with the largest number of attending members, the department that travels the farthest distance to attend the parade and an award for the best appearing color guard.
For the past several years, a local family, the Deckers, have had some clever ideas and have participated without competition as a group. Last year, they were a circus. Their family circus included a unicyclist who rode from the beginning of the parade to the end, and had children dressed as lions and clowns. Borden said Gordon Decker and his family intend on keeping their “Spirit Award” title this year.
The winner of the Spirit Award will get the honor of having their family’s name imprinted on the plaque and will keep the statue to display for a year. Over the next year, the family or group will have to work to keep their title and the trophy.
Borden said the trophies add more healthy competitiveness to the parade and she hopes it will encourage more people to participate.
“I specifically wanted to do this to challenge everyone in town to enter a float,” Borden said.
The winners will have their name engraved on a plate on the trophy and they will have the privilege of placing the trophy on their shelf for the entire year and the “bragging rights” that go with it.
Borden said the group does not need to be a family; they can be office staff that work together. And participants don’t have to walk in the parade; they can ride on a wagon.
The parade will begin at 5 p.m. and will end in front of the library. The day’s events will also include street square dancing in front of the library and will go till its time for community members to promenade down to watch the fireworks.