In an effort to establish an annual festive event, the Raymond Revitalization Committee recently kicked off a planning process for the town’s first annual Fourth of July celebration.

According to event organizers, the celebration will be held at Sheri Gagnon Park and will likely feature fireworks, a parade and a 5K race. The committee voted Feb. 13 to initiate the planning process, which will begin with a March 13 public meeting at 6 p.m. at the Raymond Public Safety Building, according to Carrie Colby, chairwoman of the revitalization committee.

“We don’t have a Casco Days and we don’t have a Windham Summerfest or anything like that,” Colby said. “The Rotary does the fishing derby but that’s not a Raymond event – that’s a Rotary event.”

The town has held a similar annual celebration in the past. In the early 2000s, Raymond held several Founder’s Day events on June 21 to celebrate the town’s incorporation on June 21, 1803. But those events floundered due to a lack of volunteers, according to Betty McDermott, a longtime Raymond resident who helped organize the Founder’s Day events.

“We just couldn’t get enough help in the end,” McDermott said. “We just sort of stopped doing it.”

Colby is coordinating the effort with Danielle Loring, Raymond’s code enforcement administrative assistant. According to Loring, the July Fourth celebration will likely feature artisan vendors, dunk tanks, pie-eating contests, a car show and other events “bring about a sense of community and fun.”

“We’re trying to make it a big event and town-wide,” Loring said.

Loring and Colby are seeking sponsorships and volunteer assistance, and are hoping to receive feedback at the Feb. 13 meeting.

“We’re just in the early stages of planning.” Colby said.

Aimee Senatore, the executive director of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber will seek to promote the event.

“We will support them in any way we can,” Senatore said.

Town Manager Don Willard said the event could increase community spirit in Raymond.

“I think the town has always had a lot of spirit and a lot of pride and a great sense of community, so a celebration like this can only improve on all of that,” Willard said.

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