DETROIT – What started out as a way to honor a hometown hero and boost interest in a county fair became a Guinness World Record on Wednesday as 298 Cadillacs from across the United States and Canada stretched for nearly a mile in a parade to open the Orleans County Fair in Barton, Vermont.
Lorie Seadale, superintendent for the Floral Hall Arts & Crafts department of the Orleans fair, cooked up the idea of the Cadillac parade as a way to increase awareness of the annual event and as a way to pay homage Barton’s own Henry M. Leland, who founded Cadillac in 1902.
“Our initial goal was for the fair but it’s become a dual-purpose event to honor Henry Leland’s legacy and contribution to this country with his inventions, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit,” Seadale said. “It’s great to bring the world record back the United States where it belongs.”
The previous record of 102 Cadillacs on parade was set on Aug. 18, 2002, in Leimuiderbrug, the Netherlands.
Several of Leland’s descendants still reside in the area and participated in the parade.
“He was a unique individual. They called him the ‘Master of Precision’ because he had such high standards,” said David Leland, great great nephew of Henry Leland and a resident of Shelbourne, Vt. “It’s nice to see him recognized like this.”
The parade of Cadillacs included vintage cars through today’s CTS Coupe.
“Cadillac congratulates the residents of Barton and all of the Cadillac owners who participated in the parade for setting the world record in Henry Leland’s home town,” said Cadillac Vice President of Marketing Don Butler. “The success of this event demonstrates that Cadillac still fuels the same passions that Henry Leland inspired in the brand.”
We had a few members of our club that were at the parade and I have never had so many emails thanking me for posting about this. Earle sent me one of the best emails I have ever received in all the years I have been doing the website.
I spent the day in Vermont today taking part in the Orleans County Fair Cadillac Parade. O M G!!! Thank you for alerting me to this event. There were Cadillacs of every description, era and year in attendance. I can not describe in words how, excuse me here – I am not of the generation where this expression comes from, but it fits – It was TOTALLY AWESOME!! I have some pictures and when I get them downloaded I’ll send you some. Some of the hi-lites; a 1905 one cylinder, chain drive Cadillac that for all the world looked like the horse was removed and a steering wheel was inserted.
A 1909 that had already made the transition and looked like an automobile. Forties, more ’59’s than I have ever seen in one place. There were shiny examples of just about any model of Caddy you can think of. The 1958 Eldorado’s stands out, as did all the Alante’s.
I saw three limos, two party types and one six door. Two hearses, one ambulance and one flower car. There were daily drivers beyond count and some of the sweetest 60’s and 70’s Fleetwoods and Devilles you would normally just see in your dreams. It was literally beyond description.
At the fairgrounds, the end of the parade, we all did one lap around a 1/2 mile track, had our car, name and hometown announced at the grandstand, then starting parking headed in at an angle up to the inside rail and when the track filled up, they started lining up nose to tail around the outside rail. It was simply an incredible turn out.
I have not checked the group’s website yet, but we were told as the last car, either a STS or a SLS passed the Guinness official that that we did indeed break the record held in Holland, yes that Holland, of 102 Cadillacs in a parade.
Break it? We destroyed it, we were told the final count was 298 Cadillacs. A fitting tribute to Henry Leland.
Again, Vinny, thanks for giving me the heads up on this event. It was a great experience and I am thrilled that I was able to be a part of it.
Arlene Fiore sent us in some pictures of Richard and his 1957 Eldorado Biarritz. She said it was quite a day seeing all those Cadillacs in one place.
I am sure some more pictures will trickle in and I will make a new section on the site in a few days, so be on the look out for them.
Were you at the show? I would love to hear about your trip and some pictures from the show. Congrats to Lorie and her crew for pulling this off. Come talk about it over on the forum or leave a comment below.