AUGUSTA — For the hundreds of people lined up from Maine’s State House to Augusta’s City Center, Monday’s Fourth of July parade was only the start of the day’s celebrations marking the anniversary of founding of the United States of America.

Later in the day, there would be hayrides downtown, activities and games for children, live music and at dusk two displays of fireworks over the Kennebec River to cap off the celebration.

In the tradition of Fourth of July parades, marchers included local candidates for public office, several different motorized squadrons from the Kora Temple, fire trucks, a tractor, a dance troupe, churches, Cub Scouts and a band.

If the adults’ eyes were focused on the show, the children’s eyes were focused on the fistfuls of candy tossed from the cars and floats.

For Nancy Finnegan and Jim Melcher, the parade was a chance for the Augusta couple to observe a civic celebration.

“I like the music and the gathering, the good spirits and seeing people,” Finnegan said.


Melcher said he likes celebrating civic holidays, and the Fourth of July is more joyful than Memorial Day.

“For me, so much of it is tradition,” Melcher said. “I like coming out to salute my country. As somebody who teaches political science, I like seeing the people running for office. I like to give a salute to the police and fire people who serve our area.”

Melcher is a professor of political science at the University of Maine at Farmington.

They also saw a friend of theirs who plays trumpet in the Hallowell Community Band and enjoyed seeing the dancers.

For Kristen Brailey and Joey Dube, the parade drew them from Livermore Falls and Sabattus, respectively, and for a very practical reason.

“This is the only place doing a morning parade as far as I know,” Brailey said. “It worked better for us.”


Brailey’s favorite part was the Corvette club that took part. For Dube, it was the mini bikes and motorized drift trikes driven by members of the Kora Temple.

Kristen Brailey, left, Lillyanna Brailey and Joey Dube traveled to Augusta for the Fourth of July parade Monday because it was the earliest one they could find. Jessica Lowell/Kennebec Journal

For Brailey’s daughter Lillyanna, 2, the best thing about the parade was the popsicles that were handed out by one of the participating groups.

At midday, Augusta Mayor Mark O’Brien, dressed in 1770s style clothes, stood outside the fence of Old Fort Western and read the Declaration of Independence, which severed the political ties between the British American colonies and Great Britain.

“Some people may be surprised how long it is,” O’Brien said, noting the list of 27 grievances that the colonists listed. “They know some of the familiar phrases, but it’s two pages.”

O’Brien had read through the document several times before he took to the podium Monday to proclaim it to the crowd gathered on the lawn, but that wasn’t the first time he’d read it. He was a political science major in college.

“I have a thing for government,” he said.

At the parade and at Old Fort Western, the city also celebrated members of the Gannett legacy by featuring Genie Gannett and Terry Gannet Hopkins as the parade grand marshals, and toasting them for their contributions for the foundation and the restoration of Old Fort Western.

The fort is the oldest wooden garrison in North America, dating back to the French and Indian War in 1754.

In 1920, the Gannett family, descendants of the Howard family that had lived at the fort from 1767 to 1852, renovated the garrison, built reproduction blockhouses and gave the facility to the city in 1922 to be used a museum. It first opened on July 4, 1922.

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