Changes to International Festival parade this year

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St. Stephen – Due to the scarcity of volunteers on both the Canadian and American International Homecoming Festival committees, changes have had to be made in this year’s parade.

There will now be two parades, one in each community, instead of a single parade crossing from St. Stephen into Calais, Me.

Kimberly Ste Marie, chair of the Canadian organizing group, said due to the very small number of volunteers on both committees, they weren’t able to deal with the paperwork required by Customs and Border Protection for the parade entries to cross from Canada into the United States this year.

“This is nothing against the U.S. Customs. They’re just doing their job.”
Ste Marie said once she was notified Monday by the three-member Calais committee it didn’t have the manpower to help with the border requirements, the decision was made not to cross the border.

“It’s a big job and we were just not able to do it,” said Ste Marie.
She said she hoped the decision to hold two parades won’t extend beyond this year.

“There is still a parade on this side,” said Ste Marie. She said the construction on Milltown Boulevard has been closely watched and sometime next week, a decision on an alternate route, if necessary, will be made.

The St. Stephen parade will take place Aug. 12, at 1 p.m. Atlantic, beginning on Chocolate Drive, and travelling down King Street. A quiet zone for children or adults bothered by noise will extend from Chocolate Drive to the corner of Queen Street and King Street.

According to a social media post by American committee member Jayna Smith, the Calais portion of the parade will begin at 12 noon Eastern time at Dead River Company. A route and registration information will be forthcoming.