CHAMPION — Independence Day is a time for parades, chicken barbecues and gatherings of friends. In the hamlet of Champion you get all this and more on July 4 during the annual Old Home Day.

Organizer Brian M. Sech said anyone who wishes, is welcome to participate in the parade.

“Just come to the fire department parking lot before the 11 o’clock start,” he said, noting he has heard from Bill Blunden and Dave Hall who plan to bring their vintage fire trucks.

The parade will be led by “one of the James boys, wearing the Uncle Sam suit,” said town of Champion historian Lynn M. Thornton.

According to the historian, Helena Fitzgerald Waite made the suit about 60 years ago and has donated it for use in the parade.

The procession begins at the Champion hall on Route 126, crosses the highway, goes up Route 47 proceeding down to Smith Street, where participants loop around and returned to the fire station.

Everything from children on bicycles to farm machinery and from vintage cars to fire trucks are usually in the small parade.

The Champion Second United Methodist Church will hold a Strawberry Shortcake Sale from 10 a.m. until noon — before, during and right after the parade.

According to church member Mel Phelps, there will be two sizes available — regular at $3 and large for $5.

“Funds raised will be going towards the building fund for upgrades and maintenance of our church,” said Mr. Phelps.

Following the parade, Champion Grange No. 8, will host a chicken barbecue with complete dinners at $9 and halves for $5.

Mrs. Thornton, who also serves as 4 River Valleys Historical Society vice president will have the society’s Hiram Hubbard Homestead, 34237 State Route 126, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, July 4.

Since acquiring the 1820s graystone, which was built by the hamlet’s founder, the historical society has been rehabilitating the building to act as its headquarters, a museum and a research center.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the homestead houses many displays of life long ago such as tools used in cheese making and shoe making.

Last year, the master bedroom was transformed into an art gallery to permanently house pieces donated by artist Linda Rogers of Westport, Mass. “The Quandary of Legacies” is a collection of mixed-media pieces combining photography, word and image and photo montage utilizing photos of life at the graystone where she once lived.

The award-winning artist and her late brother, Peter Rogers, donated the family homestead to the 4 River Valleys Historical Society in 2005.

According to Mrs. Thornton, over the past year, a number of cosmetic changes have been added to the homestead with new curtains hung and displays added.

“Two child size rockers were donated,” said Mrs. Thornton. “We put one in the nursery and another in the parlor with a small child’s embroidery project next to it.”

She noted they would appreciate donations of early toys — prior to 1900s, children’s furniture and doll house furniture.

Up next for the homestead will be replacement of beams under the living floor to make them more load-bearing.

Mrs. Thornton said $1,000 in funds garnered from the sale of raffle tickets for a trip to Ireland sold on behalf of the North Country Goes Green Irish Festival will go toward the estimated $3,000 project. In addition, $1,100 funds donated in memory Mrs. Thornton’s recently deceased husband will be utilized.

Since the homestead is on the national registry only material of the era may be used.

“We plan to use milled lumber from an Amish sawmill and tongue and groove flooring,” she said, noting they are seeking estimates from contractors who do historic renovations.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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