This past July we made our second pilgrimage to West Grand Lake in Washington County Maine. We planned the timing of our trip so that we could be there for The Grand Lake Stream 4th of July parade. The year before, sitting around a beach fire, I had heard a lot about the parade from my extended families, the Bailey’s and the Vose’s and all thru the following winter and spring I was anxiously awaiting the opportunity to experience it for myself. Maybe even getting a look at the “World’s Largest” Tied Fly float.
Grand Lake Stream Marching Band
After some early morning fishing on West Grand and a delicious campfire breakfast we all piled into two boats, Rob’s Pro Sport Avenger and the Lund Rebel Sport...( we are a “sporting” bunch) and headed down to the public ramp area at the outlet to Grand Lake Stream. We did a tandem tie-up and walked into the village, alongside the canal ,opposite the Canal Side Cabins. We settled at the front of The Pine Tree Store for a good vantage point to watch the parade. Not ever having attended 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 a couple of hundred year ‘round residents, The Pine Tree Store, a salmon fish hatchery, the Historical Society Museum, a Post Office, the highest density of Maine guides in the state and not a lot more, but that’s more than enough for me. It also has of course the stream itself which happens to be one of the top fly fishing destinations in the country and West Grand Lake which is on my very short list of 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't disappoint as there were floats honoring past Maine Guides, the Grand Lake Stream marching band, veterans, a good amount of Grand Lake canoes, tractors, scouts, candy pelting us like hail, patriotic displays of the flag, fire engines, antique trucks and lots more. However no sign of the “World’s Largest” tied fly. Perhaps next year…
A Tribute Float
To me there is something very, very special about a small town parade such as this one at Grand Lake Stream and the annual Memorial Day parade in Searsmont, another small town which is near my home. These parades display patriotism, reverence, pride in community, fellowship, honesty, non-commercialism and a basic and heartfelt joy mixed in with a sense of innocence. It just doesn’t get any better.
One Of Those Puffy-Headed GLS Guides
After the last fire truck and ambulance had filed by we headed down to the park where the parade entries were gathered on display and to catch a glimpse of cousin Kim dutifully flipping burgers and tending fries. Not long afterward we strolled back to the public landing for the boat rides back to Hazelwood’s , lunch and another try at those wily salmon lurking in the cold, deep holes of West Grand Lake.