HALLOWELL — Laurie Senechal, the general manager of the Liberal Cup, may know the most about how busy Old Hallowell Day is.

The little Water Street tavern is so crowded, in fact, that she prepares her employees well beforehand.

“We warn them when we hire them,” she said with a laugh. “Don’t go out the night before. Be fresh and be ready to get killed.”

The pub, noted for microbrews and English tavern-inspired fare, opens just after the 10 a.m. parade, working frantically to fill orders until close — most times packed to the gills, a doorman preventing fire code violations.

“It’s crazy, all right,” Senechal said.

Hallowell’s 43rd annual Old Hallowell Day celebration kicks off Saturday, with a bevy of activities highlighting the history, riverfront and small business community the city is celebrated for.

The traditional attractions the day is known for remain — the 7:30 a.m. 5-kilometer road race, the 11 a.m. pie baking contest in the parking lot of Slates Bakery and, of course, the fireworks, which are shot off from Chelsea around 9 p.m. or whenever it is dark enough.

“We think that a couple thousand people watch the parade and a couple thousand more watch the fireworks,” said Jane Orbeton, the chair of the Old Hallowell Day Committee.

Hallowell Police Chief Eric Nason, like Senechal, also has all hands on deck — both full-time and part-time officers work morning and night — mostly controlling parking, diverting traffic in the morning and patrolling at night.

“They don’t plan anything that day,” Nason said.

After the parade, scheduled to start at 10 a.m., many officers are released to rest up for night duty, which often entails multiple arrests, usually for disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and operating under the influence, according to Nason.

“The more problematic time is before the fireworks and after the fireworks until 2 or 3 at night,” Nason said.

Orbeton said there will be a few new events this year, including free frisbee golf at Vaughan Field from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

According to Hallowell Fire Department Lt. Jeff Thompson, two charred steel I-beams from the World Trade Center September 11, 2001 wreckage will be in the parade, courtesy of the Farmingdale Fire Department.

After the parade, the beams will be on display at the parking lot of the Maine Public Utilities Commission on Second Street, where the Hallowell Fire Department, with help from Farmingdale is hosting “Fun with the Fire Department” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fundraisers for Old Hallowell Day, which usually rely on contributions from businesses and individual donations, has had to find innovative ways to raise money in an unforgiving economy, according to Orbeton.

For example, the committee is in its second year of selling fireworks dedications. Donors could have pay anywhere from $10 to $100 for large and small fireworks and have a 15-word message in the day’s official program.

The dedications range from tributes to the late Mayor Barry Timson, who died in office in 2007, to businesses wishing readers a happy Old Hallowell Day.

“We were worried about how we would do things this year,” Orbeton said. “Every year, we have to be more creative because we’re a little community organization.”

Michael Shepherd — 621-5662

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.