Rutland’s Halloween Parade

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(Host) Rutland is about to celebrate the 45th anniversary of its Halloween Parade that draws thousands of costumed spectators downtown. This year the parade steps off at 6:30 on Sunday night, and VPR’s Nina Keck says it will be the biggest ever.

(Keck) Back in 1959 a much smaller Halloween parade wound through downtown Rutland. Instead of witches and goblins, that first parade celebrated comic book idols like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Flash.

Tom Fagan, a Rutland resident and huge Marvel Comic Book fan came up with the idea. Over the years, friends of his who wrote and worked for Marvel comics came to the annual parade and even incorporated it into their magazines.

No kidding, a comic from 1972 has members of the famed Justice League riding on their own power-ring generated float. There are bad guys galore and Superman and the Phantom Stranger have their hands full – on Merchant’s Row no less.

Ejay Bishop, Superintendent of Recreation and Parks in Rutland City, says they felt it was time for the parade to revisit its comic book roots.

(Bishop) “The parade began with a superhero theme and evolved over the years to incorporate more of a Halloween theme. But this year, the park’s department is encouraging people to dress up as their favorite superhero to honor the history of the parade.

(Keck) Bishop says this will be the biggest parade ever with close to 90 entrants including floats, marching bands, dancers and more. With the election so near, he expects to see plenty of politicians in and around the parade. But he says to march in the parade, they have to be in constume and follow the theme. Might be nice, he laughs, to have some superheroes to vote for.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.

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