RUMFORD — The community hosted its own version of a New England Patriots Super Bowl parade Friday, complete with one of the team’s cheerleaders, its mascot and an 11-foot replica of the Lombardi Trophy aboard one of the many floats.
The celebration was all about the popular football team, which claimed its fifth Super Bowl victory on Feb. 5.
Roger White of White’s Yardworks, who worked with the River Valley Chamber of Commerce and Black Mountain ski area in this first local Patriot tribute, said he wanted to bring something positive to the River Valley.
Among the hundreds who lined the parade route from Mountain Valley High School to Congress Street was a group parked at Hope Association on Hancock Street.
Carl Touchette of Rumford and his fiancee, Jessica Chiasson, are big Patriot fans. Their SUV had blue chalk on a window with the Super Bowl score, 34-28.
“This is great for the town. At 7:30 this morning, we were driving around looking for the floats,” Touchette said.
Their group included Nikayla Touchette, Crystal Touchette, Mercedes Valencia, Colby and Emily Lemay, and baby Sophia.
“We were going to go to the one (Super Bowl parade) in Boston but …” Chiasson said.
“I ended up having to work,” Carl Touchette said, “so this was a God send.”
As the first float approached, an excited Colby Lemay screamed repeatedly, “Let’s go Patwowits!”
White drove one of his big trucks in the parade, hauling a trailer with the Patriot cheerleaders, mascot and the giant replica Lombardi trophy. At the head of Congress Street, as he drove under the giant U.S. garrison flag hoisted by a pair of Fire Department ladder trucks, White proudly held his replica Patriot Lombardi trophy out his window and repeatedly honked his horn, which was met with loud cheers from onlookers.
A collector of Patriots memorabilia for 20 years, White also had with him five replica Super Bowl rings, representing each of the five Patriot titles.
Besides White’s float, businesses, including Franklin Savings, KeyBank, Bangor Savings Bank and Oxford Federal Credit Union, had floats, as did Mountain Valley High School.
The parade had three people firing muskets, symbolic of the Minutemen Patriots, who fire their guns after each New England score.
Rumford, Mexico and Dixfield all used a town truck in the parade, and local law enforcement also participated.
Television station WMTW was there, as well as radio station WOXO, which did a live show from the back of White’s truck.
Following the procession, there was a Super Bowl party in the lodge at Black Mountain ski area. Besides musical entertainment, the replica trophy and rings were on display for photo opportunities.