Vermont Holiday Tractor Parade Honors Late Farmer and Water Quality Advocate

(Richard "Dickie" Longway tractor tribute rolls down the streets of St. Albans)

ST. ALBANS, Vt. –– The 4th Annual St. Albans Cooperative Creamery Holiday Tractor Parade held in St. Albans, Vt., on Friday (Dec. 8) paid tribute to the family of Richard “Dickie” Longway, a Swanton, Vt., farmer and active water quality advocate who died earlier this year.

Longway’s family was the grand marshal of the parade, which featured nearly 50 tractors, trucks and other large pieces of farm machinery, all lit brightly in the spirit of the season as they traveled through downtown St. Albans, while thousands of people watched. The Longways rode directly behind Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, who was behind the wheel of a glowing tractor. Dickie Longway played the role of Santa during the first three years of the Holiday Tractor Parade.

“My dad loved this event,” said Longway’s son, Travis. “He enjoyed the time we spent as a family, decorating our tractor and seeing all the little kids excited for Christmas. There were two things he loved most: his family and farming. This event is about both. He would be very pleased to be remembered this way.”

Dickie Longway was a lifelong dairy farmer and staunch advocate for water quality. He also served on the Swanton Regional Planning Commission, Swanton Selectboard and Board of Civil Authority, and was a member of the Farmer's Watershed Alliance. He died on May 7. He was 66.

“Dickie was an energetic, passionate member of Vermont’s dairy industry,” said Amanda St. Pierre, of Pleasant Valley Farms in Richford. “He believed in serving the community, whether through conservation practices on his farm or by being Santa. His presence has been continually missed, and we were very pleased to see him recognized as grand marshal in the annual tractor parade. This event is such an uplifting sign of support for all of us in the dairy industry, and we know how pleased he would have been to see all of the kids waiting to see Santa.”

The St. Albans Cooperative Creamery started the parade four years ago as a community event intended to help farmers celebrate the end of the cropping season, and the start of the holidays. Since then, the event has grown substantially. “Dickie really embodied the spirit of this event,” said Kiersten Bourgeois, business development and communications manager for the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery. “He was able to make a shy child talk or a grumpy kid smile, and he always took time to hear every little child’s wish.”

Drone footage available at: https://www.facebook.com/northernvermontaerial/videos/900154440165721/