July 4th – A Small Town Parade

VFW color guardMany years ago, we were asked to help locate veterans who would be able to help other veterans lead the Caldwell (Rougemont area) July 4th Parade.  We volunteered to help and have continued this tradition for more than ten years.


Caldwell is a small rural community located at NC Highway 57 at Guess Road in Durham County. It is just a short distance from Hillsborough. You are encouraged to show your patriotic spirit by joining in the festivities and parade. The veterans gather at the Caldwell Volunteer Fire House on Guess Road between 10 and 10:15 a.m. for formation. We are at the very front and form a Veterans Color Guard that leads the parade.  District 6 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts have joined us from Mebane and Durham.


The parade starts moving at about 10:45 am and proceeds to the intersection of NC 57 and Guess Road. It stops and waits for the parade start at 11 a.m. Directions


Strange things happen at 11 a.m. First, the first car to reach the intersection is stopped. The driver is escorted from their car and is made the Caldwell Parade Grand Marshal. The Caldwell Air Force (a biplane) flies over the parade and the National Anthem is played to start the parade. Our very own Gil Montoya was caught one year, but he enjoyed the honor as a Grand Marshal.


There are marching groups, manure spreaders, cowboys on horseback, floats, scooters, bicycles, motor bikes, antique cars, bands, fire trucks, and antique cars. The parade continues for about one mile and ends at the Caldwell Community Center. The VFW veterans break off (as we lead the parade) and join their families at the community center park.


We are augmented by area Catholic veterans from Msgr. William O’Brien, Assembly 3365, from St. Matthews Church.  Assembly 3365 veterans are taking over the hosting/cooking of the parade lunch.  This has been performed by the Heavlin family.  The lunch is for all veterans and their families and is served under the read canopy in the park next the to community center.


The our post is providing hot dogs and the Durham Assembly is providing hamburgers and lots of cold water. You are asked to bring a dish to share. It can be fruit, a salad, a favorite family dish, or whatever you are inclined to share. Be sure to bring your family and especially grandchildren. The Caldwell parade is Americana and country living at its best.


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