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Houlton’s hot Fourth of July festivities celebrated in different ways

HOULTON, Maine — Despite temperatures soaring into the upper 90s Wednesday, a large crowd turned out for the town’s annual Fourth of July parade.

“Fireman Fred” Parson belts out a patriotic song as he walks the parade route of Houlton’s Fourth of July parade. (Joseph Cyr | Pioneer Times)

“It was the biggest one ever at over a mile-and-a-quarter in length, despite the fact that Bob Bartlett did not attend with his fleet of antique tractors,” said Jane Torres, executive director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce. “As an agricultural community, we certainly did miss seeing the parade of red tractors driven by friends and family.”

Torres added that the weather did not seem to have any negative effect on those attending or participating in the parade.

“The enthusiasm of the parade participants was contagious,” she said. “Houlton is definitely the place to be during the week of the Fourth.”

David Beals of the Houlton Fire Department sprays water on the crowd during Houlton’s Fourth of July parade. (Joseph Cyr | Pioneer Times)

Parade winners, which are decided by a committee, were: Best Commercial Entry, Dunbar Construction; Best Non-Commercial Entry, Houlton Combined Sports Teams; Best Agricultural, Meredith Folsom antique tractor float hauled by Bartlett Forest Products; Chairman’s Choice, Katahdin Trust Company float; Best Walking Unit, 195th Army National Guard Band.

For many residents, the Fourth of July is a time for family gatherings, Houlton’s Agricultural Fair and of course fireworks.

“I love the Fourth of July,” said Lori Weston. “I love the patriotism displayed and felt by so many. I love the reunion of people. I love the gratitude shown for veterans and the tears openly shed when they walk or drive past. I love how the parade route is filled with happy people and families under the bluest skies.”

Weston added that, as if on cue, a bald eagle began flying over the floats prior to the start of the parade.

The inflatable man from the Houlton Fire Department plays with some children as he walks along the parade route Wednesday. (Joseph Cyr | Pioneer Times)

For Tracey Albert and Lisa Perfitt, both of Houlton,  the fireworks were their favorite part of the festivities.

For others, Independence Day was a time to relax. Michelle Charbonneau of Linneus said after working many shifts during her time with Temple Theatre, it was nice to have a relaxing holiday for a change.

“This year, it was nice just to relax and enjoy the simple, less chaotic adventures,” she said.

Cindy Reeves of Ludlow said her favorite part of the Fourth celebration was the John Anderson concert and the fireworks, while Doddie Tucker of Houlton simply enjoyed “spending time with my family.”

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