Last weekend’s Everybody Loves Raymond, ME event was the kind of festival you might see on TV or in any movie about small town life. It was a true community event, designed to bring people together for fun and to celebrate the community in which they live, work, and visit.
The event began on Friday, July 21, with a decorated boat parade and contest, won by Dick Lemieux of Raymond. Saturday, July 22 kicked off a full day of fun with the annual UCan 5K, held in memory of Candace Woolston. After the race, preparation for the parade began. The sound of live music filled the air and the event was officially underway for the day.
The parade highlighted what the event was all about: community. The Raymond Fire and Rescue Department trucks played a central role in the parade, and various groups walked with banners and props, highlighting their unique position in the community. Children rode bicycles and tricycles, or marched in costume alongside their parents. The Raymond Village Library, Raymond Hill Community Center, Boy Scouts, local politicians, sports teams and summer camps were all represented; highlighting the many opportunities the small community of Raymond has to offer.
The event, organized by the Raymond Village Library, had a great turnout according to Sheila Bourque, president of the library board of directors.
Set up inside the fence were vendor tents, a bounce house, a dunk tank, and a live music tent. A variety of field day style events were scattered throughout the afternoon, including a cheese doodle toss, tug of war, sack races, pie eating contest and water balloon toss.
Smiling Hill Farm set up a petting zoo, and Tin Mountain Conservation also offered a children’s activity. Bourque said the live music, dunk tank and the animals from Smiling Hill Farm were big hits with the crowd. “Our success was due to the participation of many different community organizations and a great staff of volunteers,” she said.
Vendor tents around the outside of the field offered information on local non-profits such as: the Casco Raymond Historical Society, Loon Echo Land Trust, Nathaniel Hawthorne House, Tin Mountain Conservation Center, and the Be the Influence Coalition. Local crafters and a local farm offered attendees the chance to purchase their wares.
Lines formed at the cotton candy and snow cone tents and the sunny morning made the dunk tank a popular place to be with the children. In fact, as many children were lining up to sit inside the dunk tank to be dunked, as there were to throw balls and do the dunking. In the middle of the field, people set up folding chairs and settled in to listen to the variety of live music offered throughout the day.
Alissa James and her son, River, came to the festival to meet people and see what the community had to offer. They had just moved from Standish to Raymond and the event was a nice way to familiarize herself with the community, she said.
Everybody loves Raymond, ME doesn’t have carnival rides or neon lights – it has something much better: connection, friendship, and the special feel of small town life.