LEWISTON — The 20th annual Liberty Festival on Monday attracted its normal large crowd of locals excited to celebrate the Fourth of July and enjoy the fireworks.

Before the show could start, Veterans Memorial Park filled with people looking for food and a good time. The city provides that every year with carnival games and prizes, a variety foods fitting for a festival, and live entertainment.

L/A Classic Hot Dogs was ready for the excitement and the influx of people. “This is our fourth year doing the festival. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun,” said John Waters, an employee. “We start setting up around 10 a.m. and start cleaning around 11 p.m.”

“You see a lot of different types of people, some you know and some you don’t,” Waters said. “It gets really fun when it’s busy. When they close off the bridge, you look up and it’s just a mass of people.”

Local business Fahrenheit 225 was also excited to be working the festival. “It’s our first time here, so we got here really early just in case,” employee Kim Clark said. “But it’s cool; barbecue goes with Fourth of July, right?”

Fahrenheit 225’s special was a Pigs Gone Solo, with pulled pork, cornbread and baked beans layered in a red Solo cup.

Other food trucks offered corn dogs, french fries, nachos, deep-fried pickles and hand-spun cotton candy.

Lewiston and Androscoggin Democratic committees had booths set up, selling mini American flags and patriotic apparel, along with popcorn and fried dough.

Roger Fuller of Lewiston, a Democratic candidate running for the Maine House of Representatives, said he was excited to see so many people from the area come out. “I think it’s great when the community comes together to celebrate.”

Veggies By Day, a local band, performed, getting the crowd pumped up. Cathy McDonald, event organizer, said the name comes from the fact that all of the members previously worked in the produce section of Shaw’s Supermarket.

Award-winning Elvis impersonator Robert Washington put on a high-energy show for the crowd, and Community Little Theatre put on a quick show.

As the sun began to set at about 8:30 p.m. and the temperature cooled down, police prepared to barricade Longley Bridge and streets near the Great Falls. More and more people were marching in from all directions, ready to see the fireworks.

Some people parked in the Lincoln Street parking garage and set up seats to watch from the roof.

People of all ages were in attendance, adults clamoring to find the most shaded spot on the 85-degree day, while children ran around playing.

“This is why we live in Maine, this weather,” Fuller said.

Mayor Robert Macdonald issued an official proclamation recognizing the dedication and hard work of Cathy McDonald and Richard Martin, the Liberty Festival organizers and advocates since its beginning in 1996.

“Their dedication is unwavering, as they recognize the importance of July 4 to our nation and its people,” Macdonald wrote. “The activities of July 4 demonstrate patriotism in full force on America’s birthday. Cathy and Richard persevere each season to make it the biggest and brightest presentation yet.”

He added, “The Liberty Festival brings forth an abundance of community pride and neighbor engaging with neighbor. Cathy and Richard dedicate countless hours to make the Liberty Festival in Lewiston and Auburn a standout experience and one worth returning to time and time again.”

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