HOULTON, Maine — The town’s agricultural fair and other Independence Day activities wrapped up Sunday as sporadic sunshine lit the area for the first time during the four-day event.
Despite a persistent rain interspersed with periods of torrential downpours, a crowd still sat in cars and lined the streets with umbrellas and rain jackets to take in the parade Saturday. Veterans organizations, music and floats took part in the annual parade. Tractors, police cars and firetrucks also snaked through the streets, and some tractor drivers fastened umbrellas to their machines to protect themselves from the rain.
When the procession ended, it was raining so heavily that some motorists pulled over to the side of U.S. Route 1 to wait until visibility improved.
Damp customers lined local coffee shops to get hot drinks to warm them up.
“I wish it hadn’t rained, but it was still fun,” Boston resident Madison Martin, 13, who was in town with relatives visiting extended family, said after the parade. “I am going to a party now, but, thankfully, it’s indoors.”
The rain held off for the fireworks late Saturday evening.
Houlton was not the only County town that organized Fourth of July activities. In Limestone, revelers were invited to a parade, a fireworks display and activities at Trafton Lake, while in Presque Isle, the Elks Lodge held a celebration at Riverside Park featuring musical entertainment, children’s activities and food. Events also took place in Portage and Ashland.
The Houlton Agricultural Fair opened its gates Thursday in Community Park. Although the wet weather hampered some activities, people still turned out for the midway, concerts, children’s games, eating challenges and livestock shows.
The County saw some of its best weather Sunday, and just after noon cars were lined up from the fair gates to the end of the street, waiting for admission.
Inside the gates, children could go down an inflatable slide designed to look like the sinking Titanic and ride a roller coaster that resembled a dragon.
Older children and adults headed toward the Gravitron, the Ferris wheel and other high and fast-paced rides.
The smell of sausages, hamburgers and french fries wafted through the air, and game booths offered prizes ranging from decals to giant stuffed animals.
Maria Higgins, 33, of Woodstock, New Brunswick, was at the fair Sunday afternoon with her 7-year-old daughter, Kaylee. She said she often visits Houlton and was bringing her daughter to the fair for the first time.
“She loved the swings and the bounce house,” she said as the pair split a box of french fries. “We are going to stay for the marionette show before we hit the road again.” Maria Higgins said she also enjoyed the K-9 Frisbee Dog Show.
“I love dogs,” she said Sunday afternoon.
Ben White, 18, of Auburn, attended the fair with several cousins. He said he was looking forward to the Demolition Derby, which took place late Sunday afternoon.
“I like some of the rides, too” said White. “None of my friends have gotten sick.”
“Yet,” he added with a grin.
The fair wrapped up Sunday evening.