Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 10, 2014
Clouds part for Harborside July 4 celebration
by Tevlin Schuetz
Despite the doom and gloom weather predictions for the holiday, the clouds parted and the sun shone on the Independence Day celebration at Harborside on July 4.
A parade of Brooksville citizens took to the street promptly at 10 a.m. to celebrate our nation’s birthday, and this was followed by live music and other activities.
A July 4 celebration in Brooksville. Despite the doom and gloom weather predictions for the holiday, the clouds parted and the sun shone on the Independence Day celebration at Harborside on July 4. A parade of Brooksville citizens took to the street promptly at 10 a.m. to celebrate our nation’s birthday, and this was followed by live music and other activities. Photos by Tevlin Shuetz.
Visitors and locals alike lined the parade route to view the spectacle, which included people of all ages waving flags, donning red, white and blue garb and driving or riding in an array of festooned vehicles in addition to traveling on foot.
Musicians played as they walked and were accompanied by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the local fire department, a troupe of ukulele players and people driving tractors and cars pulling wagons with waving, cheering occupants. Youngsters piloting kiddie cars and elders in classic cars rolled down the main drag as well.
The event also heralded the arrival of summer residents and visitors from out-of-town, including people from Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Illinois, New York and other places afar, who partook of the festivities, repeating a phenomenon that has become normal over the years. “It used to be that there was no one watching the parade,” said organizer and master of ceremonies George Lirakis, “[because] everyone in town was in the parade.”
After the parade crept through town for a second pass, the crowd gathered by an outdoor stage where the Pledge of Allegiance was recited followed by a rendition of “America the Beautiful” and the Gettysburg Address. Lirakis briefly honored residents of Brooksville who had passed away during the previous year before reading a short list of local births.
The pie eating contests were next, beginning with a competition for children 12 years old and younger and followed by two rounds of competition for adults. After the gluttony subsided, the area was cleared for the water balloon toss, which had a record number of participants this year, according to Lirakis.
Veteran Captain Paul Jacobs, U.S. Navy (retired), spoke about the plight of Vietnam veterans in this country, stating that now is an appropriate time to honor these citizens because they did not receive a proper welcome when they returned home at the conclusion of that conflict in 1975.
Following the tribute to veterans, Bill Gawley and Friends performed, led by Brooksville resident Bill Gawley on guitar, with Jackie Pike on fiddle, Gerry Estabrook on dobro and Allen Ramsdell on the banjo. A number of people stayed to sit and enjoy the music.