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Hundreds turn out for Worthington’s 250th Anniversary parade 

  • Gerrie Kennedy of Worthington drives a John Deere tractor festooned with paper flowers to lead the Worthington Gardeners contingent in the town's 250th anniversary parade on Saturday, June 30, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Worthington Girl Scout Troop #64807 Brownies, from left, Anna Tompkins, 6, and Holly Sampson, Lauren Filipeck and Addison Thomas, all 7, try to get the Worthington school bus to honk its horn during the town’s 250th anniversary parade on Saturday. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • State Representative Stephen Kulik, left, and State Senator Adam Hinds read a resolution from the statehouse recognizing the 250th anniversary of the incorporation of the town of Worthington at the conclusion of a parade to mark the occasion on Saturday, June 30, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Michael Tomaskowicz of Worthinigton cruises in his 1968 Ford Mustang during the town of Worthington's 250th anniversary parade on Saturday, June 30, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Sisters Robin Baj, left, of Hadley and Cindy Dubchak of Worthington cheer on participants in the town of Worthington's 250th anniversary parade on Saturday, June 30, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Wes Kellogg, 8, of Worthington waves a flag while riding on the Sampson Logging float in the town of Worthington’s 250th anniversary parade on Saturday. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Caitlin Willard, 11, of Northampton holds a lamb on the Three County Fair float during the town of Worthington's 250th anniversary parade on Saturday, June 30, 2018. Behind her Suzanne Van Geel, 13, of Hatfield holds an Alpine goat named "Ed". —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Worthington Library Board of Directors member Carol Ann Cushman, top, laughs as she takes part in the town's 250th anniversary parade on Saturday, June 30, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Sisters Amelia, left, and Ainsley Bascomb, 6 and 4, respectively, of Amherst march in the town of Worthington's 250th anniversary parade on Saturday, June 30, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Kids ride in the Full Circle Bike Shop contingent during the town of Worthington's 250th anniversary parade on Saturday, June 30, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING



Staff Writer
Monday, July 02, 2018

WORTHINGTON — Nearly 500 people lined Huntington Road on Saturday morning as they listened to the national anthem, sung by resident Gina Hickling, and waited next to Town Hall in anticipation of the parade that would begin celebrations for the town’s 250th anniversary.

The Bowls family of Worthington got the parade rolling with a large banner dedicated to the anniversary of the town’s founding, closely followed by a red, open convertible Volkswagen Cabrio driven by the grand marshal, state Rep. Steve Kulik, D-Worthington, along with his wife Sue and veteran Jim Dodge.

Other parade members included the Worthington Historical Society float, Worthington’s veterans float, the Expandable Brass Band, Berkshire Vietnam veterans, Friends of the Worthington Library, a 1949 Ford 8-N driven by John Colby, a 1941 Case Tractor driven by Jim Lagoy, a 1967 Chevy Camaro driven by Ginger Donovan and Betty Parish, as well as Matt Whitcomb, the Worthington native who won gold coaching the U.S. Olympic womens’ cross-country ski team earlier this year, among others.

Evan Johnson, chairman of the Worthington 250 Committee and the parade’s master of ceremonies, announced each of the participants as they passed by and said he was thrilled by the turnout from residents and people from neighboring communities.

The parade kicked off the town’s festivities spanning five days from Friday into Tuesday in honor of Worthington’s founding as a town in 1768. A potluck dinner on Friday under a large tent pitched next to Town Hall served as the first event, which drew nearly 300 people, according to Johnson.

“There is always a strong sense of community living in this town,” Johnson said. “Something about this town seems to bring all sorts of people together and there is a good feeling. It’s exciting to watch it all come together.”

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, and state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, joined the parade, waving to their Worthington constituents and smiling on a clear, sunny morning. Over the course of an hour and a half, more than 107 entries of floats, fire trucks, vintage cars, tractors, veterans and policemen made their way from the town’s airstrip on the corner of Radiker Road and Route 112 all the way up to Starkweather Road.

“The parade is amazing in terms of the work the committee did to put it together with this many entries and it so epitomizes the Hilltowns and Worthington to have a lot of tractors and farmers represented, fire departments of so many neighboring towns,” said Kulik, who will be retiring from the Legislature in January of next year. “It’s been a tremendous honor to be the grand marshal of this parade.”

He said he loved living in Worthington and he said he was grateful for the “amazing” outpouring from the community at the potluck the night before, where he was handed an award by the town for his work as an elected official.

Resident Leonard Beaudry, who served 35 years in the Air Force, said Kulik “has always been for the people since his first day in office.”

“He’s done a lot for western Massachusetts and I hate to see him stepping down, but he’s getting older,” Beaudry said.

Beaudry’s wife, R.J., lays wreaths across town during the holidays at places like Town Hall, the library, and corner stores to liven up public areas.

“It’s a very charming town,” R.J. Beaudry said. “If anyone ever needs anything, we are there for them.”

Local communities were represented by a number of fire departments including from Peru, Windsor, Plainfield, Williamsburg, Goshen, Chester and Huntington.

“There’s a lot of fire departments, a lot of wonderful floats … it’s a great hometown parade,” Worthington Fire Capt. Michael Dondiego said. “It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the town’s 250th.”

Bob Dodge, who served as chairman of the Parade Committee, said everything went “above and beyond” what he hoped for.

The Worthington Historical Society’s float celebrated the town’s early industry, with members Ben Brown working as a chair maker, Mark Shapiro throwing clay on a wheel, and Lisa Westervelt spinning wool.

The float rested on a trailer being pulled by a large truck with early 1800s American-style craftspeople dressed in period clothing. Their set was bolted on as they made their way down Huntington Road.

“This is representing crafts in Worthington past and present,” Brown said. “It seemed very popular and it went over well.”

Other events on Saturday included an arts and crafts show, musical performances by various bands, a Historical Society open house with an exhibit of houses from the 19th century and how they look now, a petting zoo and pony rides, and an art exhibit by students at the R.H. Conwell School.

On Monday there will be theater performances at the Town Hall starting at 7 p.m. Throughout Monday there will be “Discover Worthington Days,” where one can visit open houses in town and go on hikes. Additional details can be found on the Worthington 250th official program, worthington250.com.

On Tuesday, there will be a grand finale music performance by the Resurrection Airmen as well as local favorite FAT, who are on their 50th anniversary tour, beginning at 5 p.m. at the music tent.

Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. at the airstrip.

Luis Fieldman can be reached at lfieldman@gazettenet.com