The 28th “new” Lenox Tub Parade made its annual appearance this September. The “new” tub parade has now appeared longer than the Gilded Age original.
Colonial Carriage Society Secretary, Tjasa Sprague, recently gave a talk at Ventfort Hall on Lenox Tub Parade – Past and Present.
Lenox Tub Parade – Originally a Ladies’ Social
Anyone who’s read Edith Wharton knows that Lenox was among the husband shopping markets for young ladies of the Gilded Age. But these young ladies particularly liked Lenox because they had more freedom…..riding, driving, and hiking.
So it’s not surprising that they – somewhat spontaneously – created a social event around the light carriages they could easily drive themselves. Decorating the carriages and driving through town together was as good an excuse for a social event as any.
Like many goings on in Lenox, it was closely followed and reported in local papers as well as national newspapers and magazines.
Some described the people and rigs in detail. Others described social occasions such as “tea and a band at Sunset Terrace,” or “the young set went to Coldbrook where Mrs. Barnes gave a dance.”
What’s the “Tub” in the Lenox Tub Parade?
Most of the ladies would have driven small carriages. “Tub” was a nickname for one type of cart – often called a governess cart. It is light and would have been easy for a pony to pull and a woman to handle. Passengers enter from the rear and sit on the sides.
Lenox Tub Parade – The Revival
In 1976, the Garden Club put on a tub parade as part of the bicentennial celebration. In 1983, the town organized a tub parade for Memorial Day. As is obvious in hindsight, guns and bands didn’t mix well with the horses. In 1989 the Colonial Carriage Driving Society was formed and tub parades have been held regularly since 1997.
In the early days of revived tub parades, large draft horses and wagons predominated. And they still appear.
A variety of horse drawn and human or motor powered entries rounded out the most recent parade.
Thanks to Tjasa Sprague, Secretary Colonial Carriage Society and leader of the Lenox Tub Parade revival for this information (at Ventfort Hall 9-7-19)