By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON June 11, 2002 Ginny Guglielmone hit the nail right on the head.
Watching more than 270 tractors mosey down Main Street in Callicoon Sunday afternoon, Guglielmone searched for words to explain the mystique of her hometown and its unique traditions.
I love it, she said. Its true Americana.
The tractor parade has become a tradition in the hamlet after six years of local residents shining up their riding lawnmowers and their big Farmalls for a trip down memory lane in Callicoon.
Guglielmone and husband Tito now bring their friends, Grace and Harvey Bass of Pennsylvania, to the parade each year. The couple comes into town for a special visit each year just as the parade is ready to get under way, and the Guglielmones are more than happy to drive them down for the event.
I havent missed one yet, Ginny said.
The event has truly become a family affair. Some gather on the sidewalks to watch, while others get into the spirit with their own machines.
The Cucci family, one of the many entourages represented this year, rolled down the street with seventh-grader Brett leading the way in a big yellow machine, his fourth grade brother Nicky following in a shiny green John Deere and his dad, Richard, bringing up the rear on his tiny riding mower.
Richies got the tiny one, yelled out one spectator.
He gave the kids the one with the rollbar on top, another laughed.
And Kim Rosenberger, driving down the street on her own mower, dragged a hitchhiker down the street a friend on a skateboard had grabbed hold of her seat for a free ride.
It was a time for a community to come together with a Callicoon Volunteer Fire Department pancake breakfast kicking off the morning at the Delaware Youth Center and a chicken barbeque closing out the day at the Youth Center, residents came out to eat, drink a beer with a friend and wave to the expert drivers on the tractors.
Onlookers lined Main Street on both sides, filling the sidewalks, the restaurants and the shops to watch the procession. Others claimed a prime spot on Audley Dorrer Drive to sneak a peek at the drivers.
After attending the mornings dedication of a flagpole in the Callicoon Creek Park, the Guglielmones walked up to Main Street to stake a prime spot.
The dedication was beautiful, Ginny Guglielmone said. All of this is what Callicoon is all about.
Esther Lyman who lives in Queens said she never got to take in the tractor parade before.
She owns a home in Lookout, Pa., and in the past shes tried to head out for the city early on the morning of the parade.
Ive heard once youre here, youre here for the day, she said of the traffic jam on Callicoons main streets. But this year we took Monday off so we could watch the tractor parade, and its great fun.
Lyman has never been on a tractor, she confessed, but she figured she might be able to talk one of the farmers into letting her hop on for a ride.
The tractor parade has been a rousing success since it began six years ago. The first procession had approximately 40 tractors, but the visitors were so impressed they came back, many bringing some of their own machines to show.
John Back and Carol Roig of Barryville were attracted by the old tractor theme. Back has his own vintage 1949 farm machine, and the couple loves to check out other antiques.
When we first came, we thought thered maybe be about 20 machines, Back recalled. There were over 100.
The couple hasnt missed one since.
Its a good way to show support for Callicoon, Back noted.
And maybe one day hell pull a trailer along behind his car on the trip to Callicoon and slip his tractor into the line rolling down Main Street.