CHAMPION — How better to celebrate the nation’s birthday than with a parade and a chicken barbecue. That is exactly what’s planned here Friday.
The parade starts at 11 a.m. at the Champion Fire Company and travels across Route 126, down Route 47 to Smith Street, where it loops around and returns to the fire station. Everything from children on bicycles to farm machinery to vintage cars to firetrucks can be seen in the small parade.
“I like going to the Champion parade because it’s an expression of the hometown Americana at its best,” said Ronald Deeley, of Watertown, who attends the parade annually. “Champion is a nice community-driven hamlet where people show their support, celebrate and are proud of their community.”
Champion Grange 18 will host a chicken barbecue at a cost of $9 for a complete dinner and $5 for chicken half only, after the parade.
The Grange building originally was built as the First Congregational Church in 1812-17 on the hilltop now known as Village Green Park. The bell that is now in the steeple of the building was donated by Gen. Henry Champion in 1816 to commemorate the dedication of the church. The bell will toll — letting freedom ring — at the start of the parade.
According to Nelson Eddy, Champion Grange master, the Champion Old Home Day parade started more than 60 years ago, perhaps in 1952.
The Independence Day celebration also will include an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hiram Hubbard Homestead. Across from the Fire Hall on Route 126, the stone building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is owned by the 4 River Valleys Historical Society. The former home of the hamlet’s founder is being rehabilitated by the society to act as its headquarters, a museum and a research center.
Visitors can see the improvements that have been made to the historic home, including the renovation of the front doors and the inclusion of a kitchen garden. Custom Builders Unlimited of Rome restored the Adam doorway at the front of the home, removing the door, sidelights and transom, restoring them and reassembling them at the homestead.
In conjunction with Old Home Day, Christ Anglican Church, Route 47, will hold a bake sale starting at 8 a.m.