Grand Isle holds its first Independence Day parade

2 weeks ago

GRAND ISLE, Maine – The town of Grand Isle held its first fourth of July parade on Thursday night, adding to their usual tradition of holding a bonfire with fireworks at the Grand Isle Campground on Main Street.

And while the day started with rain, the weather cooperated during the parade.

The fire department has organized the town’s Independence Day festivities since about 2015. George Dionne, who owns the campground and has been retired from the department for about two years, said they collect bottles at the department and his campground to pay for the fireworks each year.

Dionne said he gets a good deal for fireworks from a fellow firefighter who runs the Phantom Fireworks store in Holden. This year, they picked up $4,700 worth of fireworks for about $1,500.

“It’s all done with money we receive from our bottles,” Dionne said.

GRAND ISLE, Maine — July 4, 2024 — Grand Isle held its first ever Independence Day parade this Thursday, using the same lineup as the town’s annual Christmas light parade. The parade coincided with the town’s usual fourth of July festivities at the town campground, which include a bonfire and fireworks. (Chris Bouchard | St. John Valley Times)

The town called this year’s parade “Christmas in July,” as it involved the same floats and vehicles as their annual Christmas parade.

Florence Beaulieu, who works as the safety officer for the town’s fire department, organized this year’s parade.

“We usually do our Christmas light parade every year, so we decided that, since we don’t have anything for July, we might as well do a July 4th parade,” she said.

The parade also included the fire truck and ambulance from Madawaska, a neighboring town.

Beaulieu said that preparation typically takes all day.

“If I start in the morning, the two fire trucks get decorated,” she said. “It takes all day to decorate both of them, and then after that it’s basically just lining them up.”

The parade began on Main Street, near the Morneault Road, at roughly 9 p.m. It traveled past the community center and fire department and ended at the Grand Isle Campground, where the bonfire was held. A food truck owned by local business Maine-Ly Meat ‘n Potatoes was on the scene, and fireworks were lit to cap off the festivities.

“We do this for the public,” Dionne said. “A big thank you to everyone that donated bottles and cans to the fire department to put this on.”