August 12. 2018 10:50AM

Meredith celebrates 250th birthday with festive parade

Sunday News Correspondent

Aboard a flower-bedecked stretch golf cart, residents of Meredith Bay Colony Club prove the theme of their parade float "Forever Young!" on Saturday. (Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)

MEREDITH - The community pulled out all the stops on Saturday to celebrate the 250th anniversary of its founding with a parade that attracted a record crowd to Main Street.

Four years in the making, the grand parade featured 35 floats, Inter-Lakes High School's marching band, vintage cars, antique tractors and both a boat and a goat.

Marjorie Lee, 89, who retired after 65 years as an educator, 28 of them at ILHS, was honored as the Grand Marshal and rode the one-mile parade route in a white 1968 Mustang convertible.

The only original Moxie Horsemobile left in the world was among the parade entries. Built on a modified 1929 LaSalle, it was piloted by owner Ben Clark of Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln.

An effigy of a white stallion stood in the center of the car astride which Clark worked the steering and other controls.

The longest surviving soft drink in America, Moxie was created in 1876 in Lowell, Mass., and remains a New England favorite for many.

In homage to cartoonist Bob Montana, who called Meredith his home, two of his iconic comic strip characters appeared in the parade.

Edward "Rusty" McLear, put his ginger-colored hair to good use in depicting Archie Andrews, complete with a navy-blue sweater vest emblazed with a Riverdale "R". Jodi Hebert sported a jet-black straight-banged wig to play the role of Veronica Lodge.

Montana's 1923 Ford Model T, often featured in his strip as Archie's mechanical nemesis, also appeared in the parade.

The parade stepped off promptly at 10 a.m., but hundreds of spectators had already set up lawn chairs along the route to ensure a prime viewing spot.

Other smile-makers on parade included "Leaping Lena" a Tin Lizzie that did wheelies and flapped its front fenders at the crowd, and the Shriner's clowns and their mini-train.

The Abbot-Downing Historical Society towed a new reproduction/interactive coach sponsored by Merrimack County Savings Bank and the New Hampshire Police Association Pipes and Drum band helped give marchers a spring to their step.