WINSLOW — If you didn’t go to Winslow’s Family 4th of July Celebration on Wednesday, you missed out on seeing an alligator, the King of Rock ’n’ Roll and Caesar the camel — and that’s just for starters.

While the weather was either too hot or too wet the first three days of the annual festival, the day found a “Goldilocks” range for weather, with a bright sun and slight breeze fanning the thousands in attendance. The previous days of high humidity followed by downpours plagued the opening days of the festival.

“This is a lot better than rain,” said Kevin Douglass, chairman of the event, which is in its 23rd year.

The entertainment featured an Elvis impersonator and Maine humorist Tim Sample.

“It was cooler earlier in the day, so most people were sitting up close, but I’m very aware that when you do these things, everyone hides under every piece of shade,” Sample said after his second show.

Sample’s stories touched on life in Maine, where he was born and raised.

“I love Maine because you can talk about very nuanced things and people get it,” said Sample, who has traveled all over the country performing his Maine humor.

“It’s very interesting. The response to Maine humor has little to do with geography and lots to do with demographic,” he said.

Although the weather cleared up for at least one day of festivities, the early week’s rain did damage to the event venue in Fort Halifax Park, flooding parts of the low-lying region near the river.

“Basically, the river flooded the lower part of the park,” Douglass said. “The park is flooded, so we pulled everything up last minute.”

The weather also affected some of the entertainment, with Kids Day moving to Wednesday and the petting zoo’s main attraction, Caesar the camel, also moving to “Hump Day.”

“He wasn’t supposed to be here today. We had an open day,” said Ed Papsis, owner of Pony X-Press, of Winslow. Caesar was on display only Wednesday before moving away from Thursday’s show.

“He’s not too fond of fireworks,” Papsis said. He has brought his show to the Winslow festival for the last 22 years and said that being nearby has its advantages.

“We probably put more into it than other shows, being from Winslow,” he said. “Being close by, we can bring in more animals.” Pony X-Press also had a handful of baby goats and a miniature alligator that was cooling off in a kiddy pool. More animals are expected on Thursday, including an alpaca and its newborn baby.

Early problems such as low volunteer numbers and a lack of fundraising threatened the festival, Douglass said, but he added that nothing was cut short in terms of the festival.

“We’re short about 25 volunteers from last year. It’s not the end of the world, but it definitely makes us shorthanded,” he said.

Douglass said the amount raised was lower than last year’s total and that plans have been put in place to increase fundraising for next year, with some expenses this year coming out of pocket. The committee raised about $30,000, according to Douglass, down from the $60,000 to $100,000 it aims for.

We maybe spent a little bit out of our pockets to make it happen,” he said. “We weren’t going to let the public go without something because fundraising wasn’t there.”

A number of events are scheduled for the final day of the festival, including a parade; a Fourth of July Idol competition; Scarab, a Journey tribute band; and fireworks.

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239
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