Town ready for Fourth of July festivities

By Rachel Gill

Observer correspondent

July 3, 2013

The sparkle of fireworks, the sweet-cold taste of ice cream and cheers of parade-goers are all just around the corner as Williston’s Independence Day Celebration kicks off this week, themed “Williston; 250Years.”

Williston Recreation Director Kevin Finnegan, event organizer, said this year’s celebration will no doubt be a must-see.

“This is definitely pretty exciting,” Finnegan said. “We do have a lot of concern about the weather this year, but every year it seems to follow the same pattern and cooperate.”

The celebration kicked off July 2 with the annual “Family Bike Races” at Williston Community Park Field House. The race featured quirky categories such as slowest bike and scooter races. Events on July 3 include the “Firecracker 5k Fun Run” at 6 p.m. at the Williston Park Field House.

Sure to turn the fun up a notch is the annual Ice Cream Social on July 3 at 7 p.m. hosted by the Williston Historical Society. The event features the town band’s first concert of the season and much more.

“It’s fun, it’s relatively cheap and all proceeds go to benefit the Williston Community Food Shelf,” said Terry Macaig, Historical Society president and event organizer.

This will also mark the fourth year the event is waste-free.

“All the utensils, napkins and bowls are all compostable,” Macaig said.

Hannaford Supermarket donated 60 gallons of ice cream for the event. Flavors include a vanilla, chocolate swirl and strawberry swirl. Ice cream eaters will also get to top their tasty treats with homemade chocolate sauce or fresh strawberries picked by a handful of Williston volunteers at Paul Mazza’s Farm in Colchester.

Macaig said while the event officially starts at 7 p.m., people are welcome to come out a little early.

“If there’s a line, we usually try and at least get the music going early so people can listen while they wait for things to get started,” Macaig said.

On July 4, the annual parade will take off at 10 a.m.

“There’s kids playing, there’s neighborhood floats, and even company floats, so everyone finds a way to participate,” said Tony Lamb, this year’s parade organizer. “To see families talking and hanging out with each other and celebrating together in one place symbolizes what it means to be Williston.”

With the recent record rainfall, Lamb said the condition of the field used for the parade lineup is a big concern, but said that given the event’s track record, things should work out.

“We have been blessed with good weather in the past and in the 30 years we have never been completely rained out,” Lamb said. “As of now, we plan on having lineup in the same place.”

He also made sure to note gratitude for Denny Lewis, who every year, allows the use of his field for the parade lineup.

“It’s a bigger sacrifice than people understand. It basically takes the land out of commission and limits its use,” Lamb said. “So it is a very generous gift to the community.”

New to join the parade this year is WGLY Light Radio, a contemporary Christian radio station.

Bob Pierce, the station’s afternoon host, said station staff can’t wait for parade day.

“We are thrilled we get to be a part of this community celebration,” Pierce said. “These events allow us to get out there and meet a lot of our listeners.”

Staff will drive the station vehicle in the parade and walk alongside handing out goodies. Pierce didn’t divulge the details of this year’s goodies but did mention that they have known to get creative.

“We handed out fortune cookies at the Essex Memorial Day Parade and the kids clamored over them,” Pierce said. “It was something a little different and unusual to make things fun.”

The week’s finale will feature a fireworks show July 4 at Allen Brook School starting at dusk.Event organizers call the show one of the best local fireworks displays around. The show is expected to start at approximately 9:30 p.m.