Well-known July 4 celebration in Gorham dates back to early 1900s
GORHAM - The Fourth of July celebration in the town is well-known by residents of the North Country. In fact, the annual celebration that dates back to the early 1900s is billed as New Hampshire's longest Fourth of July celebration.
It spans four days, beginning this year on Thursday, July 3 and running through Sunday, July 6. Highlights include nightly concerts, a children's parade, a main parade and a classic car parade and show.
There will be plenty of food and activities, and throughout the event Miller Amusements, a New Hampshire-based company, will offer rides for all dare levels on the Gorham Common.
Miller Amusements has been providing the carnival for the event for the last 17 years. Owner Scott Miller grew up in Hillsborough and returns there every year for the balloon festival. He now lives in Webster, where his equipment winters, getting any needed repairs.
Every day of the event, Miller Amusements offers attendees the chance to buy a bracelet that will let them ride any ride as often as they want for $18.
Each year the Fourth of July committee puts out a flier and dedicates it to someone. This year's lucky "person" is Smokey the Bear.
This is Smokey's 70th birthday, and the committee stated, "We want to thank Smokey for his commitment to forest fire prevention and for attending the Gorham 4th of July Parade."
Gorham's annual celebration officially opens at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 3, with the opening of the carnival. The first day ends with a concert starting a 6 p.m. by Rock Bottom.
Friday begins with a duck race on the Androscoggin, sponsored by the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The Kiddie Parade starts at 11 a.m. and the main parade at 2 p.m. The theme this year is "Keep it Simple, Red, White and Blue."
This year's grand marshal is retiring Gorham Middle High School Principal and lifelong Gorham resident Keith Parent.
He has served the students and parents of Gorham and Berlin for the past 39 years as a teacher, administrator and coach. Parent's first teaching assignment was at Berlin High School in September 1975, where he remained until 1995.
In 1996, Parent became principal at Berlin Junior High School. In 2001, he was offered the principal post of Gorham Middle High School, where he will continue to work until he retires on June 30.
Parent has been married the past 40 years to Diane Gauthier Parent (GHS Class of 1970) and they have three children. Their son Kyle (GHS Class of 1993) served six years with the U.S. Marines after high school and is now in management with Walgreens.
Their daughters, Mandy (Class of 1996) is a speech pathologist with SAU 20 and Melissa (GHS Class of 1996) teaches at the Christa McAuliffe Elementary School in Concord. They also have six grandchildren that they love spending time with.
Friday ends with a concert by The Timothy Paul Band at 6 p.m., followed by fireworks at 10 a.m., put on by Atlas PyroVision Productions.
On Saturday, the carnival opens at 11 a.m. The concert that night is by The Wayfarers starting a 6 p.m. From 6 to 7:30 p.m., the Gorham Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services will hold a chili, chowder/soup and dessert cook-off at the departments' station. All you can eat is just $5.
Highlighting Sunday's events is the Classic Car Parade, sponsored by Color Works of Gorham, at 11:30 a.m. From 12:30 to 2 p.m. Color Works will sponsor a classic car show at the common, complete with music from the '50s and '60s.
The celebration ends at 5:30 p.m. with the closing of the carnival.