WOODSTOCK — Hundreds of people of all ages lined Main Street on Saturday morning to enjoy the town’s Bicentennial Celebration Parade before dispersing to the many venues and socializing with family and friends.

They enjoyed a spectacular bluebird sky with temperatures in the 70s and a light breeze to keep the bugs away. Co-organizer Jane Chandler said organizers didn’t confer with Mother Nature to get such a beautiful day sandwiched between Friday’s rain and Sunday’s forecast rainstorms from Hurricane Bill’s remnants.

“When we were planning this a year and a half ago, we just picked a day for it that we knew there wasn’t going to be anything else going on locally,” Chandler said.

Parade participants began lining up at the town’s ball field at 10 a.m. Cousins David and Serena Cox stood at the head of the line with their oxen from Cox Kennel & Farm. Serena’s Lineback-Holstein oxen Amos and Andy were hitched to a cart in which 3-year-old Paul Cox sipped from a raspberry slushy while playing with a beagle named Willow.

Behind them, parade participants chatted and made last-minute adjustments to the many floats that awed the crowd — and Chandler.

“I thought we would get five or 10 floats, but this (turnout) was fantastic!” she said of the more than 15 floats.

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At 11 a.m., firefighters shut down a mile of Main Street (Route 26) on either end of town, detouring traffic around the parade route as the Coxes and their oxen headed toward the downtown.

Traveling behind them, dressed in vintage outfits in a 1910 Hudson, were driver Jan Kendrick and passengers Ruth Howe and parade grand marshal Roy Day, Woodstock’s oldest citizen.

“This is kind of neat,” Day said after Kendrick started the engine to back up a bit for the parade lineup.

Lifetime citizens, selectmen and former selectmen followed in classic cars, and members of the Mahoosuc Community Band performed several songs from atop a flatbed trailer pulled by a large truck.

Several parade participants wore vintage clothing from the early 1800s and the theme of some floats was to portray life in Woodstock in that period on half of the float trailer and current-day life on the other half.

The parade also featured Shriners with a barrel train, a Sterling chain-drive dump truck, Democratic and Republican town committees, firetrucks and PACE ambulance.

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Ruby Wing, who lived in Woodstock for 42 years before moving to South Paris, watched the parade with her daughter, Suzette Keniston, and family.

“I thought it was a wonderful parade,” Wing said. “It took a lot of hard work, but it was pretty nice for this little town.”

Suzette said she liked the music from the community band. “It was nice to see them. I graduated from high school with some of them. We were townies here for many years.”

Parade participants Hailey Benson, 4, of Auburn, and her grandmother, Alice Deegan, a trustee with the Whitman Memorial Library board, wore vintage clothing from 1815. They posed together for photographs before heading to other venues.

Benson, who was enjoying a green lollipop, said being in the parade was “cool.”

Over near the fire station and firefighters’ dunk tank, Alanah Savage, 3, of Bryant Pond, was sitting patiently while artist Rebecca Howard painted a pink kitten face on Savage.

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Inside the fire station, sisters Heidi Inman and Belinda Hagar of Woodstock gave presentations about their research and work to unearth historical artifacts from the town’s first settlement of Stephens Mills Village.

The sisters were raised in the former home of original settler Capt. Samuel Stephens, and have been working with Inman’s husband, Geoff, Woodstock’s retired fire chief, and a metal detector for three years trying to preserve the town’s early history.

“We’re history detect-orates,” Hagar said.

“We just don’t want it to get lost,” Inman added.

Back in the center of town, lines were forming for barbecued chicken as the Shadagee Ramblers, a local band, started entertaining from a stage.

The event is to wrap up at 10:30 a.m. Sunday with a special service at Bryant Pond Baptist Church.

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