EASTPORT, Maine — Nearly 400 sailors from the guided missile cruiser USS Anzio will help Eastport mark the July Fourth holiday this week.
The Ticonderoga-class ship, based at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, is scheduled to arrive the morning of July 3.
Sailors will have liberty during the city’s holiday festivities, which are scheduled July 1-5, will be participating in a parade on July 4, and already have signed up for many activities, said Barbara Hicks, co-chair of a committee that plans the annual celebration.
“We’ve been celebrating the Fourth of July in Eastport for over 100 years,” Hicks, who has been one of the organizers for 25 years, said Monday.
The port city, the easternmost city in the U.S., throws the largest July Fourth celebration in Maine, boasted Hicks. The celebration lasts four days, she noted, not counting two art exhibitions that kick off the activities on July 1, and features a myriad of events for people of all ages. The city has a population of about 1,300, but it is expected to spike temporarily to 15,000 on Independence Day, estimated Hicks.
“We have a great schedule of activities,” said Hicks. “We really have something for everything,” events for toddlers to older children and adults. “It’s really something for everyone.”
Among other things, the city also will welcome the cruise ship Pearl Mist, making its christening cruise. It is scheduled to arrive July 2.
Although the city’s celebration has a number of traditional events and activities, the committee adds new ones, she said. This year’s festivities will feature a performance by a magician-comedian and a ventriloquist.
The focus of the celebration is honoring Independence Day along with active duty military personnel and veterans, said Hicks.
A secondary focus is ‘Old Home Week’ — a week for holding various class reunions for Shead High School. Eight are planned this week, according to Hicks.
The Navy usually sends a ship every year to help the town mark the holiday, although one was not dispatched in 2012 because of the federal budget sequester.
About a dozen people serve on the core organizing committee, but the celebration involves hundreds of additional volunteers, pointed out Hicks. Many of the events are organized and planned by separate volunteer subcommittees, she explained. The volunteers do everything from baking pies to ordering trophies and operating the event website.
“It’s a good time,” said Hicks.