KINGFIELD — An entry in last weekend’s Kingfield Festival Days parade has caused at least two local people to speak out about tolerance and inclusion.

“It was hateful and racist,” said Clifford Cavanaugh of Kingfield during a phone interview Monday, July 22.

The float he referred to was political in nature and, as Cavanaugh said, it encouraged division rather than community unification.

On the float, a woman depicting a prison stripe-clad Hillary Clinton built a brick wall while “President Donald Trump” supervised. Trump was played by Shane Handrahan of Freeman Township and Smithfield, Rhode Island.

A screenshot from a video posted to the Kingfield Festival Days Facebook page, shows Shane Handrahan of Freeman Township and Smithfield, Rhode Island dressed as Donald Trump. He is overseeing a woman depicting a prison suit-clad Hillary Clinton building a wall.

“We’re Outta Space,” read a sign on the side of the float, an apparent reference to restricting immigration.

The theme of the festival was “Outer Space”.

“I was angry when I saw the float,” said Cavanaugh. “The people around me did not seem to be too upset. In fact, they cheered and laughed, which just encouraged those on the float.”

A video of the parade, which included entries by individuals, families, businesses and community groups, was posted to the Kingfield Festival Days Facebook page. Several spectators can be heard laughing, cheering and clapping when the float passed by.

Julia Bouwsma of New Portland voiced concern about the message the float sent to visitors during the festival, which she said attracted a “much more diverse crowd than Kingfield typically does.”

“The issue is not one of opposing political views, but about the nature of the message,” she said. “The float was very clearly communicating a ton of exclusion and division rather than inclusion. Is that the message we, as a community, want to send?”

The parade falls under the responsibility of the Kingfield Festival Days Committee, which is supported by the town’s Poland Spring Tax Increment Financing funds. Voters at the June town meeting approved appropriating $5,000 for the annual four-day event.

The top three parade winners received a cash prize. Handrahan’s float was not a winning entry.

“As far as I know, the committee does not set any rules or regulations for floats,” said Town of Kingfield Administrative Assistant Leanna Targett. “The thought has been if entries are regulated, people will stop taking part. Maybe it is time we look into it.”

A request for a copy of the parade registration form was made on Wednesday but was not immediately received.

Attempts to reach Handrahan for comment by phone on Monday and Wednesday were unsuccessful.

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