CLINTON — Crowds decked out in festive red, white and blue braved the sweltering heat Wednesday to attend the newly established Central Maine 4th of July parade in Clinton.

People from around central Maine lined the parade route from Hinckley Road to the Clinton fairgrounds to catch the procession of police cruisers, firetrucks, go-karts, vintage cars, monster trucks and even a couple of somersaulting superheroes.

The parade was part of the larger Central Maine 4th of July: the Great American Celebration, which has been taking place for the last three days at the fairgrounds. It is the successor to the Winslow Family 4th of July Celebration that was held in Fort Halifax Park in Winslow for the last 26 years. After a disagreement between town officials and committee members about unpaid bills could not be resolved, the committee found a new home for the celebration.

Last year was the event’s first in Clinton, but the more scaled-back celebration that year didn’t include a parade.

Kevin Douglass, one of the event’s organizers, said in interview Monday that the town’s Fire Department took the reins on organizing the parade this year. He said the department and the community have rallied around the event and its move to Clinton has been a positive one.

Among the spectators were Deano Carpenter and his 14-month-old daughter, Ella. It was Ella’s first parade, Carpenter said, carrying his daughter on his shoulders and waving a infant-sized American flag.

“We’re going to watch the parade and then we’re going to get out of here,” Carpenter said, citing the 90-degree heat.

Deano Carpenter, holds his 14-month-0old daughter Ella on his shoulders Wednesday at the Central Maine 4th of July: The Great American Celebration parade in Clinton. Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Michele Thibodeau, donning a stars-and-stripes cowboy hat, came to the parade with her boyfriend, Very Ingersoll, from Anson to meet up with her parents, Joy and Arthur Thibodeau who live in Waterville.

Michele used to go to Winslow for the parade but was happy to travel a shorter distance to Clinton. She said she was looking forward to seeing how the parade would compare to the old one.

A Clinton police cruiser led the parade when the 40-float procession began at 10 a.m. The car was followed by cruisers from Waterville, Fairfield and Oakland.

The officers flashed their lights and tossed a mix of candy to the children in the crowd.

Cathy Ladd and Cyann Vigue, representing Clinton’s Sebasticook Riding Club, followed not far behind on their respective horses, Spritey and Jasper.

Justin Fletcher, who was dressed up as Spiderman, put on a little performance for the kids, somersaulting down the street and striking poses pretending he was shooting web from his wrists.

Steven Palmer, dressed as Deadpool holds an American flag Wednesday as the Central Maine 4th of July: The Great American Celebration parade gets underway in Clinton. Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Fletcher marched in the parade with three other characters who are all a part of the group Pine State Heroes. Sonni Sill, dressed as Mary Jane from Spiderman; Tabytha Chappa, dressed as Princess Merida from the Disney movie “Brave”; Stephen Palmer, dressed up in a leather body suit as Deadpool; and Fletcher all “cosplay for a cause.” Sill said the group partners with the Dream Factory of Maine in Portland, which is a wish-granting organization that works with children who have chronic illnesses and disorders. Sill said the group generally goes to hospitals and organizations to hang out with children with special needs, but they were at the parade Wednesday just to put smiles on people’s faces.

In addition to the parade, the event at the fairgrounds included live music, a dunk tank, games for childen, a petting zoo and plenty of food. Firework were expected to take place at 9:45 p.m.

Emily Higginbotham — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @EmilyHigg

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