Three of the “founding mothers” of Freeport Community Services will ride as grand marshals in this year’s Freeport Fourth of July Parade.

The parade, which begins at 10 a.m. at Freeport Middle School and winds down Main Street, culminates a busy morning of holiday activities that includes an early morning pancake breakfast and road races. The thousands of people who show up then will kick back after the parade, have lunch and shop, and gear up for evening activities that include a free concert at 7:30 with The Mavericks, followed, naturally, by fireworks.

Vaughndella Curtis, Janice Fogg and Carol Southall will ride in the parade’s lead convertible. Curtis, Fogg and Southall, as well as Sherri Smith, Betsy Ruff and Suzie Harding, were honored in March at the Freeport Community Center with the town’s Citizen of the Year award. The seventh founding mother of the social service agency, Muriel Wilson, has died. The seven women are credited with planting the seeds for Freeport Community Services 41 years ago.

“I was pretty tickled by the invitation,” Southall said. “I really felt that we had been more than recognized in March. This is like a continuation. I think we feel pretty special. It’s been a great year.”

Southall, whose father, Randal Morgan, served in World War II, said she always stands and sings during the National Anthem.

“I love the country,” she said.

Her grandsons, Rogers and James Crowley, will be cheering the three founding mothers on.

“I think they’ll be in the Family Run, and then come to the parade,” Southall said.

The Freeport Flag Ladies, who stand on the corner of School and Main streets every Tuesday morning in a Sept. 111 remembrance, are also pretty well-known in town, and will have a presence in the parade, marching with American flags waving.

Michelle Barker, assistant branch manager at Bath Savings Institution in Freeport, is the parade organizer for the first year. Barker sees the “big picture” when it comes to Independence Day.

“When you think of the Fourth of July, you think parade in the morning, hanging out with your friends eating watermelon and having barbecues and fireworks at night,” Barker said. “Lots of people come for the road race, and just stay.”

Five bands will provide the music essential to a Fourth of July parade. They include Freeport’s own Casco Bay Rambers, a country-western band; Chandler’s Band, a brass outfit out of Portland; Portland City Jazz; Old Time Jazz of Portland; and State Street Jazz of Portland.

The L.L. Bean Bootmobile will be in the parade, as will floats from the Freeport Rotary Club and Wolfe’s Neck Farm and more. There will be Scouts and antique cars and trucks, as always.

“I was fortunate that the people before me were very organized,” Barker said.

Those interested in being a part of the parade can contact Barker at 865-6998 or at [email protected]

Mac McKeever, spokesman for L.L. Bean, said that Freeport will be packed with many thousands of people for the holiday celebration.

“Thousands and thousands show up for those races and cheer on the runners,” McKeever said. “Proceeds from registration go to the YMCA of Southern Maine Casco Bay Branch. It’s a festive Fourth of July mood. I think the town really gets into it.”

Thousands gather in an around the L.L. Bean Campus in Freeport for the Fourth of July fireworks. Courtesy photo

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