POLAND – This year’s Community Day will go beyond the usual day of fun.

Traditionally held on the second Saturday in September, the town’s Community Day falls on Sept. 11 this year and has prompted local planners to mark the occasion in a more patriotic way.

“When we realized it was going to be Sept. 11, we knew that we must do something to honor that day,” said Deanna Fickett, coordinator for the event.

Fickett immediately decided on the theme, “Freedom Forever,” and that the annual town event should honor those who protect and serve our country.

About a year’s worth of preparations should result in the town’s largest parade and a full day of activities for all ages. The highlight will be a patriotic ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Poland Community School with speeches and musical performances to show appreciation for the nation’s soldiers and local emergency workers, said Fickett.

State Rep. Ted Heidrich, a former Marine and a volunteer at the World Trade Center site, will speak during the ceremony. Poland Regional High School student Mike Maberry, who led the school’s efforts to institute the Pledge of Allegiance in the school, will lead the community in reciting the pledge that day. The high school’s chorus and others will perform.

To mark the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, the Maine National Guard will perform a fly-over during a moment of silence by the attending crowd.

The day will start with a 7 a.m. pancake breakfast, catered by local Boy Scouts, with the parade following at 9 a.m. Fickett counted 39 entries, including the Lewiston High School Band, military groups, and the Shriners’ band, scheduled to participate.

Throughout the day, both nonprofit and commercial vendors will have booths set up on the school grounds. The Poland Fire and Rescue Department will host a barbecue, and the Maine State Police will hold a search and rescue canine demonstration.

Sherry Garrett will have her pony on hand to perform tricks for the children. The band Poser will perform for a teen dance between 3 and 5 p.m. at the school.

All events during the day are open to anyone, including non-Poland residents. However, the evening’s fireworks show at the Poland Spring facilities is limited to only Poland residents to accommodate ample parking and crowd space, Fickett said.

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