4th of July – Grand Lake Stream Style

This past July wemade our second pilgrimage to West Grand Lake in Washington County Maine. Weplanned the timing of our trip so that we could be there for The Grand LakeStream 4th of July parade. The year before, sitting around a beachfire, I had heard a lot about the parade from my extended families, theBailey’s and the Vose’s and all thru the following winter and spring I wasanxiously awaiting the opportunity to experience it for myself. Maybe evengetting a look at the “World’s Largest” Tied Fly float.
Grand Lake Stream Marching Band
 After some earlymorning fishing on West Grand and a delicious campfire breakfast we all piledinto two boats, Rob’s Pro Sport Avenger and the Lund Rebel Sport…( we are a“sporting” bunch) and headed down  to thepublic ramp area at the outlet to Grand Lake Stream. We did a tandem tie-up andwalked into the village, alongside the canal ,opposite the Canal SideCabins.  We settled at the front of ThePine Tree Store for a good vantage point to watch the parade. Not ever havingattended before I can’t say if the turnout was average or better than average but,to me, there seemed like a very good crowd lining the route.
Prime Viewing At The Pine Tree Store 
GLS has maybe acouple of hundred year ‘round residents, The Pine Tree Store, a salmon fishhatchery, the Historical Society Museum, a Post Office, the highest density of Maine guidesin the state and not a lot more, but that’s more than enough for me.  It alsohas of course the stream itself which happens to be one of the top fly fishingdestinations in the country and West Grand Lake which is on my very short listof lakes that I’ll never get tired of returning to. ( Is this a dangling something?)
Maine Guide Extraordinaire and Veteran , Jack Perkins

The parade didn’tdisappoint as there were floats honoring past Maine Guides, the Grand LakeStream marching band, veterans, a good amount of Grand Lake canoes, tractors,scouts, candy pelting us like hail, patriotic displays of the flag, fireengines, antique trucks and lots more. However no sign of the “World’s Largest”tied fly. Perhaps next year…
A Tribute Float

To me there issomething very, very special about a small town parade such as this one atGrand Lake Stream and the annual Memorial Day parade in Searsmont, anothersmall town which is near my home. These parades display patriotism,reverence, pride in community, fellowship, honesty, non-commercialism and a basicand heartfelt joy mixed in with a sense of innocence. It just doesn’t get anybetter. 
One Of Those Puffy-Headed GLS Guides

After the last firetruck and ambulance had filed by we headed down to the park where the paradeentries were gathered on display and to catch a glimpse of cousin Kim dutifullyflipping burgers and tending fries.  Notlong afterward we strolled back to the public landing for the boat rides backto Hazelwood’s , lunch and another try at those wily salmon lurking in the cold, deep holes of West Grand Lake.