|Although a really small town, Thomaston is known throughout the local area as the place to go for the 4th July parade. It seems that as there are a lot of small towns, each has been allocated a holiday to ensure maximum crowds etc! If you are here on Labour Day for example you would go to another town locally, such as Rockland.|
The parade is the main feature of the day, in the morning, followed in the evening by a huge firework display. I went to the village about 9am and already people were there getting their chairs set out for the parade, which didn't start until 11am. Space was clearly at a premium, and the best seats go early! We arrived at about 5 minutes to 11, just in time to cross the road and join Cabot and Heidi who had found a great spot sitting on the wall, behind the main walkway.
The parade can best be explained as eclectic, in previous years the Lyman household has held a sweepstake to guess how many fire engines there would be in the parade - the fire engine issue eventually became so big that the town actually put a limit on the amount that could enter! It seems every village here, however small, has it's own fire department, whether fully manned, or volunteer based and when there is a big emergency, they all help out. Apart from the fire engines, they had a lot of people dressed as both civil war soldiers and American revolution era soldiers as well as the usual beauty queens, such as Miss Lobster etc!!
In addition to all the fun stuff, there was a huge political showing in the parade as well. We have found a place where Barack Obama is actually quite popular and there were a lot of people supporting his party. I forget if he is democrat or republican! Part of the reason for this is that this is election year, but even when it isn't there is still a lot of political representation in the parade - it would never happen in Wrea Green - just imagine!!
At the end of the parade came the fire trucks, we counted about 15! Some are even different colours such as yellow and green - I thought all fire engines were red until then.
After the parade, which lasts an impressive hour or so, it was back to the field behind the shops for food. The usual fare was being served up with a few differences. The main draw was the chicken BBQ, which had a queue about a mile long, also there were chip vans, candy floss, hot dogs etc, but no lobster here, which was a bit of a surprise, perhaps they are all sick of it! One weird thing they do which I have never seen before, is a 'blooming onion'. An onion in cut in wedges, but not quite all the way through so it is still fastened together. The whole thing is then deep fried, and as it fries, the wedges open out onto a flower shape - this is then served with garlic dip - I managed to restrain myself from partaking in this grease fest!
The fireworks were again supposed to be the best in the area, and we should have had a good view from the boat but, as happens at least every other year, they were 'fogged off'. By about 4pm we had some real Maine fog, our first yet, and the marker buoy behind us almost totally disappeared. Fireworks postponed until the next day! This happened almost all the way along the coast. It was a bit disappointing to miss the fireworks, but there we go.
As we had the use of a car while we were here, we decided to make the most of it on Thursday and Friday, and set of to explore the coast and some of the more inland areas around Thomaston. There are a few coastal town nearby which we had thought to visit on our travels by boat, so we thought we could do a bit of fact finding by car first. We visited, Rockland, Camden, Belfast and Searsport, all of which are fairly typical seaside towns, and quite honestly, nice as they are, a couple of hours in each was enough. I think if we had gone to each for 2/3 nights we would have ended up quite bored as it would be the same thing over and over again. In the evening, we decided to drive inland and see if we could find somewhere to stay which was a little different to coastal. After driving for a couple of hours we ended up back at a hotel near Searsport, that we had passed int he afternoon. Once you get even a short way inland, there is nothing there at all! The 'towns' are tiny, but that said, each has a hairdressers and nail bar, even if they don't have a grocery store. You can also get your car tyres changed any where as well!
The next day after a lovely relaxing stay at the Mermaid Inn outside Searsport, we tried again to go inland. There were few places worth stopping but, in between, the scenery was great, extremely wild and rugged and it was a really nice drive. The glorious sunshine helped though, I think it may have seemed very bleak and uninviting without it!
The Americans are a very patriotic bunch and the parade involved lots of uniforms and flags
Thomaston Fire Department
Civil War soldiers - the real thing I think!
Should they be allowed to do this at their age - I am not sure their eyesight is not as good as it should be!
It's not a parade without a giant lobster
The local band - the parade was a bit lacking in music, could have been a bit more of it and a bit louder as well!
More old guys with live ammunition!
A bit of local support for Obama - I think he needs all he can get, now the novelty is wearing off!