The Memorial Day Parade in Presque Isle, Maine

by Barbara Bean-Mellinger
Even the youngest parade watchers understand the importance of the Memorial Day Parade.

Even the youngest parade watchers understand the importance of the Memorial Day Parade.

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Presque Isle, a city in northern Maine, has held its Memorial Day Parade for many decades. Thousands of the town's citizens gather to honor and celebrate those who serve our country. In spite of all the changes the area has experienced through the years, the Memorial Day Parade is a continual reminder of small town values, community and respect for military men and women.

Parade History

Presque Isle, Maine, has held its Memorial Day Parade since at least 1944, as an archived photo from that year's May 30 parade shows. Members of the armed forces are seen marching in the parade, and military groups figure prominently in each year's Memorial Day parade. Boy and Girl Scout Troops, the fire department, civic groups, local businesses, the high school marching band, Miss Presque Isle and even individuals often march or ride on floats in the parade.

2011 Parade

On May 30, 2011, at 10 a.m., the Memorial Day Parade began at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. It lasted approximately one hour. The parade was organized by local VFW post 2599. As in other years, events honoring the military and veterans preceded the parade. On May 21, members of the Young Marines joined the VFW in placing over 100 flags on the graves of military members at Fairmount Cemetery. A visit to the cemetery also took place at 9 a.m. on May 30, just before the parade.

2009 Parade

Several written accounts, including photos of the parade, exist for the 2009 parade, giving additional insight into the typical Presque Isle Memorial Day Parade. The library float included a life-size Curious George next to Miss Presque Isle. Other pageant title holders in the parade included Miss Fort Fairfield and the Potato Queen. Local Shriners zipped around in go-carts, while shiny, decorated fire trucks and tractors rolled down the streets as well.

About Presque Isle

The City of Presque Isle, nicknamed "The Star City," is located in northern Maine, in the center of Aroostook County. It is referred to as "the hub" of the county due to its exemplary business, health care, education and transportation services. Presque Isle has approximately 9,611 residents and is governed by a City Manager and a seven-member City Council. The city's first settlers arrived in 1819 and primarily focused on the lumber industry for their livelihood. After the Civil War, area farmers began growing potatoes in large numbers and selling them to starch factories, which sold the starch to fabric mills. Later, when roads improved and the railroad was built, farmers sold their potatoes for human consumption, too. In 1941, the U.S. Army established the Presque Isle Air Base at the local airport, and the area prospered until the base closed in 1961. In the ensuing years, businesses moved out of the city and centered around the Aroostook Centre Mall. Recently, the city has begun to revitalize the downtown area with businesses, specialty shops and services.

Photo Credits

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