LEWISTON — A single signal from one lucky festival-goer and the Twin Cities’ darkened skies will splash with flames of color.
This coming Saturday, for the 13th time, the annual Liberty Festival will touch down on Lewiston-Auburn’s Veterans Memorial Park. The sister cities’ patriotic July 4th celebration kicks off at 4 p.m. and continues through 11 p.m. with entertainers, food and contests, punctuated at nightfall with the much-anticipated display of fireworks.

Shortly after 9 p.m, the winner of the festival’s Light the Fireworks online drawing will be raised on a lift where they will signal pyrotechnicians to launch the evening’s colorful display.

“We’re expecting a great community response,” said Richard Martin, president of the Independence Day Committee. Martin, who has been involved with the committee since its creation in 1997, said he cannot imagine the city ever going without the event.
“It is necessary to celebrate our independence,” he added.

Karen Mayo, vice president of the committee, was equally enthused. “We’re expecting between 20,000 to 30,000 people at this year’s event and that does not include people throughout various points of Lewiston-Auburn not by the riverfront.”

According to Mayo, the anticipated volume of people will cause the city to shut down traffic on Longley Memorial Bridge at nightfall. Gatherers are also expected to flock to some outlying sites to observe the fireworks, including the Lakeview softball fields on Graceland Road.

As in past years, the celebration will begin hours before the fireworks with entertainment at Veterans Memorial Park – an assortment of bluegrass, dance, pop and patriotic music. Mayo hopes entertainment of the alternative acoustic variety at nearby Gritty’s pub will also attract festival-goers.

Despite expectations of a healthy turnout, organizers said the economic recession has made it difficult to raise money for the celebration.

Mayo is hoping that increased donations from sponsors and community members, as well as proceeds from the Hilton House Party event, will help ease the difficulties. The Hilton party will offer paying guests an opportunity to enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, be entertained by the trio Vegetables by Day and watch fireworks from the Hilton terrace at 9:30 p.m.

Funding struggles aside, Martin said that the annual festival will not be compromised. “I can unequivocally say that the lack of sponsorship will not affect the quality of this year’s event,” he said.

Martin believes that community turnout will ultimately determine the day’s inevitable success. “All the festival-goers create the excitement. It’s impossible to escape.”

He added, “We’re always looking for sunshine.”

Nonetheless, the rain date is set for July 5.

Liberty Festival July 4th at Veteran’s Park

Schedule of events:

4 p.m. Opening festivities

5:30 p.m. Planet Cheer

6:15 p.m. Community Little Theatre musical review

7:15 p.m. Dirty McCurdy

8:30 p.m. Lewiston-Auburn Boppers with Nick Knowlton

9:30 p.m. Display of fireworks

Light the Fireworks Online Contest

The winner of the Independence Day Committee’s Light the Fireworks online drawing will signal the launch of the night’s fireworks as well as receive a free night’s stay at the Hilton Garden Inn. 

Contest ends June 30.

For more information or to enter, visit www.libertyfestival.org/lighttheworkscontest.html.


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