Waterbury NQID: Small Town Magic

Waterbury NQID parade

It’s Waterbury NQID Season! What’s NQID, well if you’re from around here, you know that NQID stands for Not Quite Independence Day, a title coined for Waterbury’s 4th of July Festival that doesn’t exactly fall on the 4th. In fact, it rarely even happens in July.

Waterbury takes pride in this little oddity. We are the first in the state to take to Main Street on floats and Firetrucks, the first to groove to music in the park, and the first to sit anxiously waiting for the firework display later that night. It’s a bundle of fun and just one more reason we are proud to be a part of this town. We thought we’d let Waterbury do the talking so take a look at some of the memories and stories we have collected from locals around town. What better way to celebrate Waterbury NQID?

Jenna Danyew, 3rd Generation Waterbury Resident

“Waterbury NQID was a point of pride for me for a very young age. I’d swear to my friends from around the state that we had the best fireworks, the best parade, and the best festival anywhere in the state. After spending the fourth in Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, and plenty of other states and towns, I still stand by our fireworks being the best and every year I hold out hope for the parade. 

waterbury NQID fireworks

There are an awful lot of firetrucks at the parade and every year my dad counts them. When I was a kid, he’d say something like ‘Eight so far’ and I’d curse myself for forgetting to count. Sometimes, as I got a little bit older, I’d start counting, but get distracted by the candy or the clowns zipping around on little go-karts. I never quite made it to the end with the number, but my dad always did. He always knew exactly how many firetrucks had passed by.

Thinking about it now, none of us remembered to count so he could have lied the whole time. I still would have trusted him, I still would have been amazed that he could stay focused the whole time. So if you’re gazing out at the parade this year, see if you can do it, see how many firetrucks you can count. Maybe that way I’ll finally have a way to fact check my dad.”

Larry Murphy, Stowe Street Emporium

“The fireworks at the end of the evening are my favorite part of the day. I also appreciate seeing our elected officials connecting with us here in Waterbury.”

Moira Bernier, Vermont Jokester

“A bird pooped on me once.”

Emily Rose, Waterbury Resident

Waterbury NQID parade“It’s the best day. I don’t ever remember doing it for the first time or not doing it, probably because my family had been going since before I was born and just brought me along as soon as I was out in the world. My sisters and cousins and family always waits in the exact same spot for the parade and the exact same spot for the fireworks. Even now that the state complex is looking quite a bit different, we point out where the pony rides used to be and find our little spot on the sidewalk that’s just about where we used to lay our blanket. We’re big fans of tradition, and this is a good one.”

Kathy Murphy, Stowe Street Emporium

“My favorite part of this day is seeing our community out on Main Street celebrating our country and seeing this honored by all the hard work of local people and businesses who have created incredible floats to honor our independence. And the look on kids’ faces in this celebration is priceless!!”

Elizabeth Aschenbach, Waterbury Mom

23 years ago we went to the parade with our one week old daughter. I spent most of the parade under a blanket with our baby because it was raining but that would not stop us from enjoying the Waterbury Independence Day parade! Our family has enjoyed the parade and celebration every year since!

Kate Ruggles, Stowe Street Emporium

“I love Waterbury NQID because I love seeing everyone dressed in their red, white and blue and seeing faces that I don’t always get to see on a daily basis. The parade brings our community together and it feels exciting and joyful as we watch the parade. I always love to see how each float has incorporated the “theme” of the parade. As a kid, I always loved feeling like we were at the fair eating food and going on rides after the parade. It was the one time a year I got to eat fried dough and cotton candy:) Yum!! Staying up late to watch the fireworks is also a thrill and a great way to end celebrating our beautiful town and country.”

Waterbury NQID

So what do you think? What are your favorite memories of celebrating the 4th just a bit before everyone else? We are forever grateful to be in this town that values community, celebration, and amazing traditions. Let’s give a huge thank you to the Rotary Club, the Town of Waterbury, the Firefighters, and everybody else who makes this event so memorable. We hope you’ll stop in and say hi while you’re downtown this summer! Cheers to NQID.

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