NORTHFIELD — It had a soggy ending, but this year’s Labor Day festival in Northfield was a rousing success.
Some of Monday’s events had to be canceled due to rain and thunderstorms. Because the stage got wet, a concert by the band Party Crashers was canceled. There was also supposed to be a puppet show and a duck race. But organizers started picking up about an hour earlier than usual because of the weather and to make sure everyone got home safely with lightning in the forecast. A few people were still munching on fried dough or barbecue under cover from the rain before everything was packed up Monday.
Casey Bailey, one of the organizers of the festival, said thankfully the rain held off until the cake cutting ceremony Monday. The cake was for Norwich University, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year and the bicentennial was this year’s Labor Day theme. Richard Schneider, the school’s president, was the grand marshal for the only Labor Day parade in the state.
Bailey said the weather was perfect Saturday and Sunday and hundreds of people took part in the festivities which included music, entertainment and food from over 40 vendors on the common.
Saturday’s events consisted of a footrace, an interactive wildlife show and a Zumba dance party. On Sunday residents watched an aerial circus act and were entertained by comedian Jeff Wozer.
The AC/DC tribute band Bonfire performed Sunday night and Bailey said over 900 people were in attendance.
She said the parade went off without a hitch.
“We’re a rain or shine event so the show must go on. We did what we could today,” she said.
Bailey said Northfield has been putting on the parade since 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial. The parade has always been held on Labor Day because it’s meant to honor everyday working people. Northfield’s festival came a couple years later as it was originally a winter carnival. Because of unreliable weather and not knowing if there would be snow from year to year, the winter carnival was scrapped and the celebration was incorporated into the parade on Labor Day weekend.
“Every year we try to make it bigger, we try to make it better,” Bailey said.
She said she had been getting emails from people as far away as Pennsylvania who were planning to attend the parade because they had a family member who was a cadet at Norwich.
“It was a great weekend,” she said.