STRONG — A celebration of Strong’s heritage and its American Indian settlers takes place Friday with a parade, barbecue and music as the town hosts its annual Pierpole Days Festival.

According to town history, Pierpole and his wife, Hannah, were two of the early residents of Strong, known as Middletown, in the late 1700s.

A parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the north end of Main Street with a lineup starting at 5 p.m. The judges’ choice for the three best floats will be awarded at the Forster Building. The parade features the Old Crow Band along with the Shriners mini-cars and a bagpipe player.

The event will also highlight a 145-year-old Franklin County connection to the Civil War and a battle that changed the course of history. Dressed as members of the Alabama 15th Regiment’s Company G,  a half dozen men will march down Main Street and stop at the town’s war monument to offer a musket salute to veterans of all conflicts. Many members are from Maine, but some in the Alabama 15th Company G have traveled from as far as Louisiana.

Last year, the Maine Rebels joined nearly 20,000 Civil War buffs and re-enactors on July 4 for the 145th-year anniversary of the hard-fought battle at Gettysburg.

“The Civil War balance changed with the 20th Maine regiment, led by Col. Joshua Chamberlain, defeated the 15th Alabama regiment at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863,” local historian Joseph O’Donnell said. “The two regiments fought at Gettysburg, and several familiar family names in Avon, Phillips and Strong were under Chamberlain’s command.”

The Firemen’s Auxiliary has planned a chicken barbecue from 4 to 6 p.m. at Beal’s Variety Store. The meal includes side dishes, drinks, rolls and a dessert. The Auxiliary sold out 215 dinners quickly last year so they suggest getting there early.

The White Elephant Country Store will host DJ Dreamin’ Big from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the store.

Vendors, crafters, a bake sale and fun activities for children are also planned.

The event is being held with the help of donations from Geneva Wood Fuels, Sandy River Cash Fuel, Gordon Lumbering and individual donors.

For more information, call 684-3198 or 684-2234.


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