Smile, you’re on Market Square camera

The 36th annual Market Square Day was the first one monitored by high-tech surveillance cameras.

Along with all the vendors erecting mini mom and pop shops for the day, Sgt. Barry Newcomb of the Hampton Police Department was downtown representing the Seacoast Emergency Response Team at its “booth” — a Wanco Portable Surveillance unit hauled in on a trailer and decorated with two orange traffic cones and some festive yellow police tape.
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Market Square Day

Four eyes in the sky mounted on a telescoping pole ringed with a thick black cable and topped with a stubby black antenna.

But don’t be alarmed. No need to panic. The cameras were not there to bust you for eating that maple-flavored cotton candy or that second helping of sausage.

And no, they were not there to enforce local dog-doo laws. The lady whose bulldog did some serious business on Market Street quickly disposed of the evidence.

And if some government spy agency hacked into the cameras they would find no nefarious activity, no smoking gun — just ordinary Americans milling about, filling their faces, sharing some fun.

After the North Church clock chimed nine to ring in the annual 10K race, there emerged a curious cross-section of the human race — slow-walking, staggering, baby-carriaging, open-air browsing their way through the square, where booth people put passions and special interests proudly on display.

There were surfboard people next to the maple people. Astronomers next to organic tomato growers. Veterinarians and talkative Vietnam vets named Ernie.

The surveillance cam picked up lots of chatter, music and laughter. Rogue balloons that escaped from small hands. Small children dancing to three-man bands. Sweet footage of inflatable monkeys and dinosaurs, a model of the human spine, a mobile wood-burning pizza oven that looked like an igloo. A children’s book author with a 65-year-old red tractor named Mac.

Hey look, there goes a Dalmatian!

All the while, nostrils and aromas mingled as wind chimes jingled in the breeze.

And so it goes in early June each year when thousands of people meet by that tall steeple in the heart of Market Square.

— John Breneman

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