Colchester celebrated Independence Day with its annual parade, a tradition that has been around for more than half a century.

Vermonters, clad in red, white, and blue, gathered together early Sunday morning. For many families, the parade is a long-standing tradition. 

“I think about nine years,” said nine-year-old Meara Mcclure.

“Probably, over a dozen years,” said mother of three, Bobbi Gillespie.

“It’s just a good time to celebrate the end of the school year and the starting of summer and to get everyone together with some warm weather and barbeque,” said Meghan King.

King said her kids looking forward to the holiday every year.

“I like the fireworks at night and we like sparklers and stuff like that,” said King’s daughter Sarai.

The parade began at Colchester high school and stretched a mile and a half. Marching among veterans, first responders, boy and girl scouts, and community groups was Governor Phil Scott and Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, who said it felt good to be back in person.

“Liberated. It just felt wonderful and the care we took as Vermonters has paid off where we can have some safety being back in a normal environment, said Welch, (D) Vermont.

Governor Phil Scott said in a statement: 

“Many around the state will be attending parades, cookouts, and firework displays – heading to state parks, the lake, or downtown, with a new sense of independence, born from our collective efforts, hard work, and determination in our battle against Covid-19.”

Children reached their hands out for candy, flags, and necklaces. They watched the Mt. Sinai Motor Corps zip by. The Corps supports Shriners Hospitals for Children in northern New England, Canada, and Mexico. 

“We do this for fun and any money we collect goes to the hospitals,” said 91-year-old Roger Spaulding.

Spaulding served in the air force for 20 years. In the 1970s, he became a member of the Mt. Sinai Motor Corps. The Corps participates in parades around the region. Sunday marked their first time in the Colchester parade.