Eastport plans celebration for Fourth of July

Posted June 29, 2009, at 7:41 p.m.

EASTPORT, Maine — Organizers are planning a celebration for this year’s Fourth of July and Old Home Week.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s 110-foot Jefferson Island Class patrol boat will be in port, along with its 16-member crew.

“The Jefferson Island Class patrol boats are on the leading edge of the spear for Coast Guard operations and are usually away from home port approximately 150 days a year,” City Manager George “Bud” Finch said in his memo to city personnel. “The primary missions of the Jefferson Island Class are domestic fisheries en-forcement, search and rescue and homeland security.”

The ship’s range of operation is from Maine to New Jersey. It is expected to arrive Friday, July 3, and leave Sunday, July 5.

There was hope that two ships would be in port, but Finch said this week it was unlikely a U.S. Navy ship will be able to visit this year, something that has been featured for decades.

“While hope has been held to the last moment, it has become apparent that unless Congress passes a last-minute funding bill, the city will not be hosting a U.S. Navy ship for the Fourth of July-Old Home Week celebration,” Finch said in his memo.

The city manager said U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have worked hard to get a ship to visit.

“We have been fortunate over the years to have the Navy visit our port with records going back to the visitation of the USS Florida Monitor in 1905,” Finch added. “There have been few years in between where the Fourth has come and gone in Eastport without the visit of the Navy; a tradition that has become almost family-like in the city’s relationship with the many Navy personnel who have joined in our celebration of Independence Day.”

Although a Navy ship won’t be in port over the holiday weekend, there still will be a lot to do.

Saturday, July 4, begins with the 49th annual flag-raising at the breakwater at sunrise.

That will be followed by the annual blueberry pancake breakfast at the Eastport Municipal Airport sponsored by the Eastport Airport Association.

There will be music and lots of activities for youngsters.

At 10 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will host an open house on the breakwater, and there will be tours of rescue boats and equipment. The craft fair also will open at that time.

At 2 p.m. will be the Grand Independence Day Parade. This year’s theme is “Eastport: Home is Where the Heart Is.”

At 4 p.m. parade bands will hold a concert in the Library Park.

At dusk, the festivities will end with a bang with a really big fireworks show.

On Sunday, registration for the Charles E. Davis 7-mile race will be held at 7 a.m. at Shead High School. The race will be held after that.

At 10 a.m. the craft fair will reopen, and at 1 p.m. the Shead High Class of 1972 will hold its reunion at the Seaview Campground. At 4 p.m., there will be a basketball game where the challengers will compete against the local team at Shead High School. Spectators are welcome.

bdncalais@myfairpoint.net

454-8228

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