A Fourth of July cruise will replace the traditional Fourth of July parade in Whitefield this year.
Cruise organizer Jerret Condon grew up participating in the parade and didn’t want the holiday to pass without commemoration.
The cruise will consist of a line of vehicles driving a 10-mile loop through Whitefield.
Participants can drive cars, bikes, ATVs, go-karts, and more, as long as they are safe and can keep up with the rest of the procession.
Town officials are not involved in the event’s organization, but have given Condon permission to hold it. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office will provide an escort.
Condon encourages people from outside Whitefield to participate. “Just because they canceled everything in your town doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate in an adjacent ZIP code. We are all in this together,” he wrote on the event’s Facebook page.
Although there will not be traditional floats, people can decorate their vehicles “to be Maine proud, American proud, town and community proud,” Condon wrote.
While the parade often sees political and social commentary, Condon wants the cruise to be apolitical.
“Leave the politics and strong social statements at home,” Condon said. “I did not create this event for it to be anyone’s platform.”
There will be no pedestrians in the cruise, though people can watch from their lawns or driveways. All participants are asked to stay in their vehicles and not to gather in groups in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
There is a suggested donation of $10 per vehicle to participate in the cruise, as well as a 50-50 raffle. All donations will be split between the Whitefield Food Pantry, in honor of Leo Gould; the Kings Mills Volunteer Fire Association, in honor of Michael Shaw; and the Maine Children’s Cancer Program at Maine Medical Center, in honor of Connor McLean. Each organization was chosen in memory of a member of the Whitefield community who died within the last year.
Condon considers it a privilege to hold the event and wants to make sure participants follow safety guidelines to help the cruise run smoothly. He encourages anyone who plans to participate to read the rules on the Facebook event page.
Additionally, one person from each vehicle will have to sign a waiver saying Condon is not liable for any damages or injuries.
Vehicles can start lining up for the cruise at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Sheepscot Links golf course on Townhouse Road. The cruise will depart at 10:30 a.m. and follow Townhouse Road to Route 126, then take East River Road back to Kings Mills.
The Facebook event can be found at tinyurl.com/yapryrzk.
(Correction: An earlier version of this article online and on Page 5 of the July 2 print edition incorrectly reported one of the beneficiaries of the cruise. It is the Kings Mills Volunteer Fire Association, not the Kings Mills Union Hall Association. The Lincoln County News regrets the error.)