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60th Annual Chesterfield 4th of July Parade - GFD - 07/04/2007


60th annual Chesterfield 4th of July parade a hit...again

CHESTERFIELD - The 60th annual Chesterfield 4th of July Parade was held Wednesday before a crowd that stretched from Bryant Street through the center of town all the way down to the the General Store.

Featured this year was Luther Curtis who was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award for his actions on July 5th, 2006.  That was the day Kevin Ladd's house was leveled by a propane explosion.  Luther, who works for the Chesterfield Highway Department, was one of the first people to arrive on the scene to offer help.  He was able to tunnel through the debris pile to reach Kevin and offered his support until emergency crews arrived.

Also honored with the Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award was Nancy Hewes, who with her husband Fred have served the town for many years.

How do you make your insides as patriotic as your outsides? - Local parade participants Grace Davidson, Alyssa and Hannah Labrie illustrate the effect a snow cone has on a tongue when the right quantity is consumed.

4th of July Parade

Fire Police members Norman Hathaway and Frank Burnett take a moment to pose for the camera before the start of Wednesday's events.  Norman and Frank drove Goshen's Rescue 1 in the parade.

A view from South Street looking towards Chesterfield center gives a good sense for the size of the crowd that had gathered for the beginning of the day's festivities.

As many of the local kids know, Smokey Bear doesn't shy away from a crowd.  Here, Smokey is hitching a ride on the back of a brush truck operated by Cory McGill of the Massachusetts Division of Conservation and Recreation.

Members of the Huntington Fire Department show off their beautifully restored 1929 pumper.  This was just one of many pieces of apparatus that made its way through the parade route.

Firefighter's Muster

Each year, the Chesterfield Fire Department hosts a Firefighter's Muster.  This event is held on the ball field in the center of town immediately after the parade.  This year, teams from Chesterfield, Goshen and Westhampton battled for the famous Golden Nozzle trophy.  They battled their way through the Midnight Alarm, Wet Hose, Bucket Brigade and Water Polo events.  Here are some scenes from this years competition:

Chesterfield firefighters Matt Laroche (left) and Tim Judd (right) just before the start of the muster.  Notice how dry their gear is.  It didn't stay that way for long...

Midnight Alarm - The purpose of this drill is to simulate what it's like for firefighters to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of an alarm sounding and don their turnout gear before responding to a call.  In this photo, the team from Westhampton became a crowd favorite when most of firefighters 'stayed in bed' after the judges yelled 'On your marks.  Get set.  GO!'.  After the younger members of the team roused the more senior members, the race to get the gear on began in earnest.  However, the team ran into another snag when members starting fighting for the one white helmet in the pile which is worn by department chiefs.  Apparently, Westhampton has many chiefs - retired ones, use to be ones, active ones and wannabe ones.  While they didn't finish with the best time of the day, they certainly finished first in the hearts of the many who watched their antics.

Wet Hose - Firefighter Dave Hewes slides to a stop next to the first coupling while team member Matt Laroche sets up to grab the other end of the hose.  In this timed event, a team of 6 races to connect 3 50-foot lengths of hose and a nozzle before a stream of water races through.  Once the nozzleman knocks down a target at the end of the course, water pressure in the hose is shut off to allow the team to disconnect the hose and reconnect it to a second length.  Then the pressure is back on to do it all over again.  The team with the best time wins.

Bucket Brigade - In the days before attack pumpers and master streams, firefighters used buckets made of leather to carry water to the scene of a fire.  In this muster recreation, those leather buckets take a back seat to a bunch of cracked 5-gallon buckets that used to carry joint compound.  Members of the Westhampton team race to fill their buckets with water before shuttling the buckets up the ladder to a waiting 55 gallon drum.  The first team to fill the barrell wins.

Bucket Brigade - A member of the Westhampton muster team flings an empty bucket back to the water fill site after dumping its contents into the 55 gallon drum at the top of the scaffolding. 

Did Someone Say Strategy? - Many teams pride themselves on attributes like efficiency, effectiveness and skill.  In this photo, members of the Goshen Fire Department team (leftmost group of four) and Chesterfield Fire Department (rightmost group of four) discuss what went wrong with their strategy for the bucket brigade which they both lost to the Westhampton Fire Department team.  Reports circulating from the scene indicated that Westhampton had been seen practicing their bucket brigade skills on a recent drill night - this is a clear violation of the unwritten rule against practicing of any kind which govern the competition.  Fortunately for them, it didn't have an impact on the eventual winner.

Water Polo - Chesterfield firefighters Tim Judd (on the nozzle) and Matt Laroche brace themselves against the force of ths just-opened hose line.  In the Water Polo event, a ball is hung on a cable that stretches from the backstop to the scaffolding used in the Bucket Brigade.  Teams line up on opposing sides and aim their water streams at the ball for 30 seconds.  The team that pushes it furthest away from the starting point wins.  Teams are automatically disqualified if they make the opposing team the target of their attack. 

Water Polo - Chesterfield firefighters are about to transition to a defensive attack after the team from Goshen scores a direct hit on the ball that causes it to almost soar over their oponents heads.

Water Polo - Goshen firefighters Phil Judd (on the nozzle) Jason Dyer (in the middle) and Brian Culver stand their ground against this futile attack from the Chesterfield Fire Department team.

Water Polo - Chesterfield firefighter Matt Laroche takes his turn on the nozzle during a second round heat.  Matt is beign backed up by Chesterfield Firefighters Tim Judd and Dave Hewes.

Water Polo - While it does appear that Chesterfield has the upper hand in this photo, it's merely a ploy on the part of the Goshen team to lure their opponents dangerously close to the center of the course.  In the end, Goshen's strategy worked as they ultimately defeated Chesterfield to win the event.

Back Row (l to r) - Goshen Fire Department - Phil Judd, Jason Dyer and Brian Culver

Front Row (l to r) - Chesterfield Fire Department - Dave Hewes, Tim Judd and Matt Laroche

Our thanks to the Chesterfield Fire Department for hosting yet another successful event.  Did I mention that the Chesterfield team was the overall winner?  I didn't?  Gee, I guess it must have slipped my mind.

(July 4th, 2007)