Boonton, NJ, where we have lived for many years, has a wonderful Labor Day tradition of an old-fashioned parade along Main Street each year, ending at the high school, where the Annual Fireman’s Carnival takes place.
Boonton is widely known for its outstanding volunteer fire department, and, in fact, the parade draws equipment from fire departments throughout the state and surrounding area. So, for a Labor Day weekend post, I thought I’d share a bit what this tradition is like…
First, you stroll down to Main Street. Boonton is a very compact town, and walking is still practiced here as a standard method of locomotion. You pass many homes and buildings of interesting architecture along the way:
…including colonials, federals, and a couple houses that are actually octagonal! The public library is there on the bottom right, in a restored old 3-story home on Main Street.
Boonton was originally established as a manufacturing town, with a cascading waterfall cutting behind Main St. as the initial source of power. Wikipedia has a short version of historical overview here; there is also a site with a bunch of old Boonton postcards (by the way, it is the only town named “Boonton” in the United States; it had a brief brush with fame in the 50′s with the production of a popular casual plastic dinnerware called “boontonware.”)
Boonton has a classic narrow main street with loads of small shops. Perfect for parade viewing and socializing. We’re known for our antique shops; plus, there is an auction every Friday night that is quite popular.
The interesting brick building with the spire seen above is the original old fire house, now restored and part of the commercial center.
Boonton has a very small-town feel – it’s a patriotic town, and also a very diverse community.
The parade is a mix of marching bands, VERY shiny newer equipment (there is a contest every year for the best-looking trucks – Boonton has a tendency to win a lot of trophies…home-field advantage?), old classics, motorcycles, and the usual amalgam of other stuff.
Some of the children in town are absolutely adorable – I tend to be slightly biased in this case…
When strolling to or from the parade, residents will pass stone walls that often are topped with puddingstone, a unique purple/white stone that is common in this area. I’ve used as much puddingstone as possible in my walls and borders.
So, if you’re ever in Northern New Jersey around Labor Day, come on by for an old-fashioned parade and carnival. It’s three days of small-town celebration!