LEWISTON — The 25th Liberty Festival burst back on the scene Monday evening, with fireworks, food and live entertainment at Veterans Memorial Park on Main Street and Great Falls Plaza in Auburn.

Music blasted from live performers, pushing crowds from one city to the other as residents from Lewiston and Auburn and surrounding communities enjoyed the Fourth of July for the first time in two years. Attendees spread out on lawn chairs and benches throughout the park as children waved small flags. The late afternoon sun drove others to seek refreshments and food from nearby stands.

“I think that it’s pretty exciting, the amount of people that came down early,” Tracy Daigle, owner of Pro Cheer in Lewiston, said. “We were told people were going to be here around five, and by then we had sold everything that we had brought down.”

Daigle and her coaches, along with a few students, were selling beverages, snow cones and fresh strawberry puree to raise money for programs at Pro Cheer.

“The crowd is great and everyone seems to be in a really good mood and I think that people are just super happy to be able to be out and about and have some normalcy after a rough few years,” Daigle said.

Comedian Dawn Bach kicked off the festivities with a 15-minute set as attendees bustled between food trucks and stands of vendors selling fresh lemonade, popcorn, flags and red-white-and-blue beads.


Across the Androscoggin River in Auburn, a set hosted by DJ Scotty Dawg pulsed loudly through attendees in line for the food trucks parked in Great Falls Plaza.

“I’m hoping (this event) will bring people together,” Denise Mailhot of Lewiston said. “We’ve had a lot of incidents that have been less than pleasant lately and I’m hoping that maybe people will start talking to each other and mingling again that things will cool down a bit.”

“I think the more events we have that involve both Lewiston and Auburn together, the better we’ll be because it’s all about being together,” Mailhot’s husband, Claude, said.”We’re two twin cities, we’re together, we should do things together.”

Jessi & the Cruisers, a tribute band to rock music of the 1950s and 1960s, performed before the fireworks display, following sets by comedians Dawn Bach and Al Ghanekar, and Elvis Presley tribute artist Robert “Elvis” Washington.

C-B-J Entertainment, comprised of guitarist Craig Rivas, bassist Bill Proctor and keyboardist Josh Hatfield, gave a varied performance of country, oldies, pop and rock, all of which set the mood and perpetuated the idea of unity among the Twin Cities.

“We’re excited to see people out and about, finally,” said Stephanie Damien of Auburn, who was with her husband, Steven. “It’s so great to see kids being happy. They’re playing and they have enjoyment. I’m so happy so see people out, it’s great.”

“This should be good for morale and good for everyone’s wallet,” Steven Damien said. “Everyone is enjoying themselves and spending a little money, but overall that’s good for the community because that money is being spent in the community and will continue to multiply.

“Everyone has a job or something to do and that gives a lot of self worth,” he said.

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