VIDEO

Thomaston celebrates with annual Fourth of July parade, L.L. Bean puts on show in Freeport

Posted July 04, 2012, at 10:32 p.m.
Jo Dee Messina performs in the L.L. Bean store in Freeport on Wednesday.
Jo Dee Messina performs in the L.L. Bean store in Freeport on Wednesday. Buy Photo
Wet lawn chairs sit abandoned in front of L.L. Bean's outdoor stage in Freeport after a planned show was rained out on July 4, 2012.
Wet lawn chairs sit abandoned in front of L.L. Bean's outdoor stage in Freeport after a planned show was rained out on July 4, 2012. Buy Photo

THOMASTON, Maine — Route 1 was packed on both sides through the entire small town as hundreds of people packed in to see firetrucks, horses, roller skaters and beauty pageant queens in the annual Fourth of July parade on Wednesday.

A few raindrops fell before the clouds eventually parted and provided sunshine for the event.

Babies grabbed at their ears when guns were shot off and as firetrucks let their sirens ring out. Other kids dressed brightly in red, white and blue waved flags sold by the town to support next year’s parade. Some children sprinted into the road to grab at lollipops thrown to them by parade participants.

Employees of the local animal shelter, church members, bands playing music on trucks and roller derby skaters were among the hundreds in the parade.

The parade followed a 5K race and a pancake breakfast.

In Freeport, some people went home disappointed after a free outdoor concert featuring Jo Dee Messina was rained out. But a few hundred who stuck around a bit longer were treated to a more intimate acoustic set in L.L. Bean’s Hunting and Fishing section.

“I want to thank all you guys for sticking around,” Messina said. “We’re going to have kind of a different show.”

Amy Baker of Conway, Mass., was vacationing in Scarborough with her daughter, son and husband. Her family visited Freeport for a day of shopping and stumbled on the beginnings of several days of activities L.L. Bean has organized to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Messina has “a really good beat and she has an amazing voice,” Baker said. Her family waited several hours, including in light rain, before the concert was moved inside and ended up buying an L.L. Bean umbrella to keep dry.

L.L. Bean’s 100th anniversary hometown celebration will continue through Saturday, culminating with fireworks that evening, and includes additional concerts and events throughout the summer.

Online editor William P. Davis in Freeport contributed to this report.

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