Celebrating the Fourth of July by watching the parade from Brewer to Bangor early in the day and then taking in the evening fireworks show over the Penobscot River is a family tradition for many Mainers.
That’s the case for Jamie Snow of Hampden, who turned out for Tuesday’s parade, which began at 11 a.m., with her daughters, Evelyn York, 4, and Lucinda York, 5, in tow.
“Besides being fun, [this] has always been something that we’ve done as a family,” Snow said while waiting to see the procession of veterans’ groups, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, marching bands, bands on flatbed trucks and Anah Temple Shrine clowns pass by.
“Either it’s here or up in Brownville at a camp. We’ve always spent [the holiday] with family,” she added.
In the spirit of Independence Day, she and her daughters were decked out in red, white and blue.
“Every year they get a little fun outfit from their great-aunt. And then we pick out some fun hairpieces. And we paint some stars on us,” said Snow, who said she has attended the parade for almost all of her life.
Like many parade-goers, Snow planned to be back for the 9:30 p.m. fireworks on the Bangor Waterfront, where the Stone Doctors were slated to perform and where food trucks were already gathering.
April Payne of Plymouth had similar plans. She brought her sons Alden, 8, and Jackson, who’s almost 2, to this year’s parade.
“It’s the first one we’ve come to here in years,” Payne said, adding that Jackson was attending his first large Fourth of July parade and was eager to see the firetrucks and police cars.
Payne said that, to her, celebrating the Fourth of July is about being “proud to be an American.”
Also watching this year’s parade was Hermon resident Amanda Emery and her daughter Alexis Homsted, who was wearing red, white and blue leggings.
“We do the parade and fireworks,” Emery said. “They’re always so much fun we have to go.” In between the two events, they visit “whoever had the best barbecue,” she said. This year, that meant going to see Homsted’s grandparents, who also live in Hermon.
According to unofficial estimates, more than 5,000 people lined the parade route, which began on Wilson Street near Brewer Auditorium, then crossed the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge into Bangor, where it traveled down Main Street and onto State Street before ending up on Exchange Street.
While the skies began to darken as the parade made its way through downtown Bangor, the rain held off until after it disbanded. Despite occasional showers throughout the afternoon, the rain was expected to end before the fireworks show.