Photos: Cadillac

So how does one go about drumming up interest for the local fair in a hometown of the founding father of a major car company? Simple, have a parade.

That is what the folks in Barton, Vermont did for their Orleans County Fair in honor of Henry M. Leland who founded Cadillac in 1902.

What started out as a simple honor to Leland and a promotional event for the fair led to a new Guinness World Record Aug. 17 as 298 vintage and new Cadillacs formed a parade that stretched nearly a mile long and included vehicles from across the U.S. and Canada.

The idea for the parade came from Lorie Seadale, superintendent for the Floral Hall Arts and Crafts department of the fair. “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 went to Leimuiderbrug, the Netherlands, for a parade on Aug. 18, 2002.

Doug Leland, a descendant of the honoree, and his wife Sally rode in the pink 1959 Cadillac convertible that led the record-setting parade. 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.”

“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.”