SHELBURNE — Engines revving, trumpets blaring, muskets firing and children laughing were just a few of the sounds heralding Shelburne’s 250th birthday celebrations this weekend.
The sestercentennial event saw Shelburne throw a huge parade, which stretched from Cricket Field in Buckland, across the Iron Bridge and onto Bridge Street, and down to Buckland Shelburne Elementary School on Mechanic Street Saturday.
It started with Shelburne Falls’ American Legion Post 135 and the William Diamond Junior Fife and Drum Corps, the latter of which wore Continental Army replica uniforms from the American Revolution and fluting and drumming while marching down the street.
“This is the best one — better than Ashfield’s,” said parader Lenny Roberts.
Roberts and Alan Garlick marched with local members of Shriners International, wearing and driving their characteristic red fez hats and miniature vehicles.
“I think this is really great,” said Roberts, all of a sudden pulling the throttle on his tiny ATV and wheeling up to some folks watching from the side walk.
The Shriners were one of the main attractions in the parade, and they had the crowd hooting and hollering while they did a brief stunt show in the street.
Some drove tiny versions of a Peter Pan bus or 18-wheeler, while others drove their go-carts in circles, drifting with screeching tires.
A large Shriners truck sat in the middle of the encircling roadsters, and a metal ramp led up and down the front and back of the truck, respectively. Turning their go-carts toward the back of the truck, the Shriners sped up, drove up the truck, across the large vehicle’s roof, down the last ramp in front of the vehicle and back onto the street.
The crowd roared with approval.
Other vehicles followed the Shriners — local police cars, including a vintage Franklin County Sheriff’s Department cruiser, fire trucks, ambulances and tractors.
The Davenport family from the Davenport Maple Farm Restaurant rode a tractor and held a sign reading, “Proud of our Shelburne roots for six generations.”
On the side of the tractor were old, blown-up, black and white photographs of past Davenports, each labeled “Generation 1,” “Generation 2” and so on.
Pack 85 Cub Scouts, the First Congregational Church of Shelburne and even aspiring politicians showed up to celebrate Shelburne’s long history.
Francia Wisnewski, chair of the Hampshire and Franklin Commission on the Status of Women and Girls — and candidate for a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives — and other local figures like Natalie Blais of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce marched and stopped frequently to talk to parade-goers.
“It’s amazing, the energy coming from the citizens,” Wisnewski said. “The community and the constituents, they’re all here.”
Once the paraders reached the elementary school, they were greeted with the smells of grilled hot dogs and tacos, coffee and more as a small fair had been erected next to the athletic fields.
People bought crafts from the various vendors, relaxed and listened to local band Zydeco Connection. Most of all, they laughed, shared memories and celebrated their town’s 250th birthday.
Reach David McLellan at email@example.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.