WINSLOW — Richard Sidelinger said driving a go-cart in a parade is as much fun as it looks.

For the past 19 years, Sidelinger and fellow drivers from the Kora Shriners’ Temple in Lewiston have executed figure-eights, loops and other high-speed feats at nearly 20 Maine parades every year.

“It is fun,” said Sidelinger, 55. “The best part is when you see little old ladies in the crowd smiling. … They act like little children when you go by, and it’s just as much fun to see them smile as it is to see the little kids clap.”

Thousands of people descended on Winslow on Wednesday for the 22nd annual Winslow Family 4th of July Celebration parade, standing shoulder-to-shoulder along the serpentine parade route from Winslow High School, through residential neighborhoods and then south on Bay Street to Halifax Park.

At the corner of Danielson and Garland streets — where parade floats queued for the start — resident H. Michaud hosted an event as old as the parade itself. Every year, Michaud’s family gathers on the driveway to watch another parade roll past. On Wednesday, about 20 family members, young and old, dressed in color-coordinated tie-dyed T-shirts and waited for the latest iteration. Michaud’s nephew Rocky Spatola, of Waterville, has joined in the tradition for the past four years.

“You can’t beat this spot,” Spatola said.

The parade got rolling about 20 minutes later than its traditional 10 a.m. start time. More than 50 floats followed behind the blaring sirens and flashing lights of police, fire and rescue vehicles — including a mobile wrestling ring with turnbuckle-diving performers, a line of axe-wielding firemen marching in formal dress, two convertibles filled with the smiling winners from Saturday’s 4th of July Pageant, and more.

An hour and two miles later, they rolled under a 50-foot American flag hung from two ladder trucks.

Nearby, Anna Sidelinger sat in a lawn chair and waited for her husband of 34 years to drive past in his go-cart. Six other women — dressed in matching yellow Shriner shirts — did the same. When their husbands drove past in formation, the women stood and cheered while the men executed a special eight-loop routine that they reserve just for the wives.

Sidelinger said she never grows tired of parades.

“I get a lump in my throat each and every time,” she said.

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

[email protected]

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