MONMOUTH — For Dan Roy, Saturday was an exercise in getting to the next thing on the list and planning around the rain that was threatening to dump on the town’s 3 p.m. parade.

Standing under the town’s new shelter at the beach on Cochnewagon Lake, the town’s fire chief and the committee chairman of the event, stopped long enough to direct a vendor where to set up a tent and flag down a fire fighter to deliver a table for the music act that would perform later.

“We’ve got a pretty good crew working. We started this morning about 8 o’clock, and it’s been on screech,” Roy said.

The morning chores included shifting the town’s floats farther out into the lake for the fireworks display, roping off the poison ivy area at the beach, setting up the food tent, and a thousand other things that needed doing.

Saturday was the celebration of Monmouth’s second annual Beach Party, with an added bonus of celebrating the 225th anniversary of the town, which was Friday.

And it’s events like these that bind small towns across the United States a little closer together.

In the United Church of Monmouth on Main Street between Cumston Hall and the Monmouth Museum, Nancy Ludewig was overseeing the quilt show, where more than 60 quilts, both modern and antique were spread across the backs of pews in the small sanctuary,

“Usually I do fundraisers,” Ludewig said. “This isn’t a fundraiser. This is to highlight the church, be part of the celebration and get quilters to show their beautiful things.”

Ludewig greeted friends as they stopped by and pointed out quilts to look at.

“The whole thing is entirely different from what happened in 1992,” she said. That was Monmouth’s bicentennial and she was one of the chief planners of that event.

“It’s lovely, it’s wonderful, no one really knows what’s going on and it’s OK,” she said.

But she’s clear about what her husband, Douglas Ludewig, would say a little later in the day. Douglas is the chairman of the Board of Selectmen and was scheduled to speak; Nancy Ludewig wrote the speech.

“They are trying to get economic development here in Monmouth,” she said.

In fact, the town’s Economic Development Committee was the engine moving the town celebration forward.

More than a year ago, Roy stopped by a meeting of the committee, which was looking for suggestions. Roy offered up the idea of a street dance or something like that and that’s when he became chairman of the Monmouth Beach Party Committee.

About 800 attended last year’s event and he was hoping for twice as many this year.

“We had such good compliments come out of it,” he said, standing under the new pavilion at the town beach. “It was a feel-good event where the whole community came together.”

Jason Mills, a lieutenant in the Monmouth Fire Department, was putting the final touches on the department’s trucks that would take part in the parade.

The department keeps the trucks clean and in good working order, but for parades the chrome shines extra bright and even the tires get the glamor treatment.

“We came in on our normal meeting night and polished them up,” he said. “The tires are a last-minute thing.”

The department takes part in other parades, both summer and winter. It’s work, but it’s worth it, he said.

“It’s great getting the whole community together, so that everyone knows everyone,” Mills said.

Margaret Strupcewski traveled to Monmouth to visit family on Saturday and stopped to check out the activities. She and some members of her family were seeking the shade of the food tent at the beach before they headed up to Main Street for the parade.

Born and raised in Leeds, she’s familiar with the summer fairs and celebrations that she went to across the region. She lived in Texas for 30 years, then returned in 2009. Now that she’s back, she said, she gets to a number of them.

“It’s nostalgia. It takes you back to your youth,” she said.

Jessica Lowell can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:

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