CLINTON — A picture-perfect summer day greeted attendees of the Central Maine Fourth of July Great American Celebration on Sunday afternoon, setting an ideal stage for the various attractions, including an evening performance from Colby Swift, country musician and former American Idol contestant.

It was 80 degrees and sunny, with picturesque fluffy clouds at the Clinton fairgrounds Sunday afternoon. The clouds provided some shade and a cool breeze provided ideal weather for attendees to enjoy the celebration’s many offerings. There were a variety of crafts for sale, from T-shirts and woodwork to mugs and flags.

There were also numerous food vendors set up, offering traditional fair food and more: including cotton candy, fries and fried dough. There was fudge for sale, and a few food trucks offering wraps and sandwiches.

There were also quite a few games and activities, such as ring toss, a cork gun, sand art and free face painting for kids.

Laci Keyser came out with her husband and 1-year-old daughter. They live up the road and have been out of town recently, and didn’t realize the celebration was happening until they drove by. They enjoyed the fried dough and were considering getting some fries as well.

Early in the afternoon there was already a solid turnout, and more people were expected later in the night for the Swift concert, said organizer Kevin Douglass.


“It feels awesome; it feels good to look out and see this many people coming out now,” Douglass said.

Organizers have been working behind the scenes to get the celebration planned, and the pandemic still provided some uncertainty to it all, Douglass said. They were unable to hold the event in 2020, and had a one-day event last year, but it was raining and turnout wasn’t great.

This year there was still some difficulty getting vendors to commit, and there aren’t as many craft sellers as past years, but it just feels good to see it all come to fruition, Douglass said.

“Ever since COVID it’s been a whole new ball game, so it’s hard to get vendors. It’s hard to get a lot of things, because nobody knows when we’re going to shut down again,” Douglass said. “It’s been a challenge, but it’s definitely paying off this year.”

The Swift concert seems to be a big draw for people, Douglass said, and is the product of five years of work. Swift, a country musician, was a contestant on American Idol several years ago. Organizers first reached out to Swift before the pandemic, to see if he would be interested in coming to the area for a concert. Those plans were put on hold during the pandemic, but the musician has finally made it to central Maine.

It hasn’t been without a few bumps in the road, Douglass said, as Swift’s flight to Maine from Texas was delayed three hours, and the airline lost his luggage and his guitar. But the event organizers have provided replacements, Douglass said, and were looking forward to the performance.


Chris Bell saw Swift on American Idol, and was excited to see the performance. He came to the festival with his fiancee and her cousins and set up chairs in front of the stage around 1 p.m. to wait for the 8 p.m. concert.

Also open to the public was the Clinton Historical Society museum, which is located in a permanent building on the fairgrounds. The museum has a wide variety of historical photos of town and other historical items related to Clinton, said Buddy Frost, founder of the historical society.

The museum isn’t formally connected to the celebration, but the historical society likes to open up the building whenever there are events nearby, so residents can check out the offerings and enjoy Clinton’s history.

The festivities will continue Monday, with a parade at 10 a.m., and the fairgrounds will open up again at noon. There will be professional wrestling with Tony Atlas at 2 p.m., a Maine State Police K-9 Unit demonstration and the Sebasticook Riding Club will present a horse show. Activities will wrap up with fireworks at 9 p.m.

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