St. Stephen – There will be one parade this year for International Homecoming Festival and it will cross the border into the United States.
Calais city manager Jim Porter said St. Stephen Mayor Allan MacEachern deserves credit for his intervention following the announcement there would be two separate parades this year due to a lack of volunteers to help with necessary paperwork, required by Customs and Border Protection Services.
“I give all the credit to Mayor MacEachern,” said Porter, adding the City of Calais is pledging to cooperate in any way it can with its resources to ensure the parade continues like it has for the past 43 years.
“We really need to re-affirm our festival if is going to continue and (we need to) strengthen our volunteers,” said Porter. “We will be talking about this in the near future.” He said he expects a meeting between Calais and St. Stephen to discuss festival organization.
MacEachern said former festival committee member Kristina White, who took care of parade details, has “stepped up again.”
“That’s a real plus, having her help,” said the mayor. He also noted since the news broke about the changes to the parade, he’s had numerous calls from members of the community offering to help.
“People do want this to go on.”
MacEachern said he has spoken with a representative of Customs and Border Protection at the American Port Authority in Calais who told him the deadline to provide information on parade participants has been extended to Aug.11, the day before the parade. “They’ve been very cooperative,” said the mayor.
“I’m pleased everything is coming together, that people have stepped up and offered their help,” said MacEachern. “And pleased to know people in both communities still want the parade. Let the festival begin, and the fun continue.”
“I’m glad it all worked out. I’m ecstatic,” said Porter.
“Festival means a lot to people. People plan to come home, plan their vacations around it, their class reunions.
“We need to plan early for next year, get all the kinks worked out make sure we have the volunteers,” said Porter.
Ian Pratt, a Calais businessman, has been named as the grand marshal for this year’s parade. Jayna Smith, a member of the Calais festival organizing committee, said Pratt has volunteered countless hours with youth sports on both sides of the border and has financially supported organizations such as the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry, the Calais Lions Club and little league teams which have
members from both border communities.
Meanwhile, by noon on Wednesday White had issued an email form to parade participants to be completed and returned to her no later than Aug. 10.
The parade will begin at 1 p.m. Atlantic time, travelling down King Street. The exact route it takes before it crosses the Calais at Ferry Point International Bridge into Calais is yet to be determined depending on the status of construction work at the time on Milltown Boulevard.