CLINTON — Children scooped up candy, fire trucks blared their sirens and horses decked out in red, white and blue trotted down the road.

It was the Fourth of July in Clinton, Maine.

Touted as the largest Independence Day event in the region, the Central Maine 4th of July celebration returned Wednesday and Thursday to the Kennebec County town, drawing thousands of families and revelers to many events.

“It’s about bringing the community together and supporting the men and women who have given us our freedoms, to be able to call ourselves Americans and be able to celebrate this nation’s birthday,” Kevin Douglass, chairman of the group that organizes the annual festival, said. “I’ll tell you what: The community definitely comes together here.”

The celebration, which began in 1990, was expected to draw more than 25,000 people over the two days, according to Douglass, a Fairfield resident.

Thursday morning was highlighted by a parade that organizers said featured 72 vehicles and 268 people. After the parade, Douglass said it was the biggest he had seen in recent years.


Beginning at 10 a.m. outside the Tradewinds Market Plus at 153 Hinckley Road, the route took the line of cars, trucks and floats into the center of town and onto Main Street, then to the Clinton Fairgrounds. The procession lasted about an hour and 15 minutes.

Participants included local churches, businesses and other organizations, along with police officers and elected officials. The motorcade included deafening sirens and horns from fire trucks from Clinton, Winslow, Pittsfield, Burnham, Fairfield, Benton and Albion.

Michaela Rizza, 28, of Clinton took in the parade from the corner of Main and Railroad streets, along with her 7-year-old son, Gunnar Graves, and baby, Violet Leclair.

Kristin Downer tells Sasha Gooldrup, who is atop an ambulance, where to place decorations for the Central Maine 4th of July parade in Clinton. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

“They throw a lot of candy,” Rizza, who planned to spend the rest of the day with her family, said. “That’s why we come to the parade.”

Lisa Covey of Winslow and Jeanine Deas of Waterville walked the parade route in the center of town and offered free books to children. Covey, who Deas called the “Winslow book lady,” said the two handed out about 200 books Thursday morning.

“It’s a feel-good, fun thing to do,” Deas, who is a children’s book author, said.


Maeve Brown, 4, of Winslow points to a parade float Thursday during the Central Maine 4th of July parade in Clinton. Organizers say the parade included 72 vehicles. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

The parade wrapped up at the Clinton Fairgrounds at 1450 Bangor Road, where food vendors, carnival games and other activities were set up for the afternoon.

On Wednesday night, the fairgrounds also hosted country music singer Darryl Worley.

Worley’s tour bus had mechanical problems on the way to Clinton, which delayed his concert by about two hours, Douglass said. The show began at about 10:15 p.m.

“There was people that stuck in there,” Douglass said. “They got one heck of a show.”

A fireworks display — reportedly the largest in central Maine, based on the number of shells launched, Douglass said — was scheduled for 9:15 p.m. Thursday. As of Thursday afternoon, the weather forecast called for partly cloudy skies, with no rain expected.

Douglass, the event’s chairman, said the annual celebration is possible due to the efforts and collaboration of many people.

“The town is phenomenal; the businesses are phenomenal,” he said. “Everybody comes right together to make sure that it comes together, and it’s just amazing to see. It is all part of the Fourth to be united.”

Max, an 8-year old golden retriever, looks out from a vehicle Thursday during the Central Maine 4th of July parade in Clinton. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

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