Independence Day parades returned in full force this year in Round Pond, Wiscasset, and Whitefield, where people gathered to celebrate on a hot and sunny Monday, July 4.
In Whitefield, the parade returned after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizer Sue McKeen estimated that at least 300 people lined the parade route and congregated in the village of Kings Mills. The festivities had more of a “down home” feel this year because people were anxious to come together and celebrate again, McKeen said on Tuesday, July 5.
“People really were, hungry for this stuff,” she said.
There were about 30 different entries into the parade. One volunteer firefighter told McKeen that it was the biggest turnout he had ever seen.
Judges selected “I get by with a little kelp from my friends” as the most creative float; a floral flag butterfly as the best design; the Whitefield Library for most community spirit; and the “Washington crossing the Delaware” float as the most patriotic.
The Kings Mills Volunteer Fire Association sold food and merchandise and raised about $3,000, according to Erik Ekholm. Ekholm has been helping the fire department with the parade since 1987, he said.
“Everybody seemed very excited to be back to normal and getting together,” he said.
In Round Pond, the political floats and the Tacky Tourists danced along Route 32 through the Bristol village again. Hundreds lined the street to watch the festivities for the first officially announced parade since 2019.
About 30 different entries into the parade ranged from classic cars, the Band from Away, a family reunion, a fire truck, and a pickup truck pulling a trailer loaded with Pabst Blue Ribbon boxes that said “How Round Pond crushed Corona (virus).”
Some of the more politically leaning participants protested the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in a humorous manner.
Last year in Round Pond, an impromptu parade happened when some people donned costumes and marched through the village after it was announced the parade would not happen. In 2020, the parade was canceled but Ann Evans, the longtime grand marshal of the parade known as Lady Liberty, stood at the entrance to Round Pond to greet visitors on the Fourth of July.
Wiscasset only missed one year of the Fourth of July parade in 2020. It returned last year for a rainy Independence Day.
This year, the parade lasted for about an hour and 15 minutes on Monday and was led by the Wiscasset Police Department. About 10 floats participated as well as numerous fire trucks.
Hundreds lined the streets to watch the parade go through downtown Wiscasset. A patriotically dressed crowd of a couple hundred lined the streets and cheered the parade on. Kids picked up candy tossed from the floats as they drove by.