News

Merrimack events celebrate Independence Day with a focus on family fun

Friday, July 11, 2014

By LORETTA JACKSON

Staff Writer

Visitors to Merrimack’s Fourth of July parade, held on the holiday, Friday, July 4, endured torrents that lightened to drizzles in time for the march of nearly 70 groups ranging from civic associations to local businesses.

The holiday parade traversed Daniel Webster Highway between The Commons shopping plaza, 515 Daniel Webster Highway, and Merrimack’s town hall, 6 Baboosic Lake Road.

The previous evening, an indoor concert was held at Merrimack High School that featured musicians from the Merrimack Concert Association Band, vocalists from the Merrimack Chorus and the event’s traditional treat, root beer floats.

The festivities on Independence Day began with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Rotary Club of Merrimack. The group, one of some 32,000 in more than 200 countries, is especially esteemed locally for the renewal of the Kids Kove play area, the lighting of Reeds Ferry field, the annual Fourth of July festivities, Family Fun Day and other projects.

The pancake breakfast held at the high school drew dozens of volunteers and some 700 guests craving golden brown pancakes served alongside plump sausages. A robotics demonstration by Merrimack High School’s FIRST Robotics team, Chop Shop 166, added some scientific spice and a coloring contest lured the creative among visiting children.

Newly elected Rotary Club president Marge Chiafery said the breakfast raises funds for annual projects. She cited the expenditure of $6,000 in scholarships that this year was divided equally among four local seniors. Chiafery thanked the breakfast’s volunteers, including a group of boy scouts from Troop 424 who performed set-up and clean-up tasks.

Steve Russell, chairman of the Rotary’s Family Fun Day committee, later said the fun-day event was designed to offer something for everyone.

“It’s a community-wide event with visits from people in a lot of other towns and states,” Russell said. “It’s a very happy event.”

This year’s Family Fun Day, also sponsored by the Rotary Club of Merrimack, was rescheduled to Sunday, July 6, as was the fireworks display. Outdoor attractions alongside James Mastricola Upper Elementary School included fun-day vendors, games, face-painting, live music, an art contest and other activities including a K-9 demo with Gunny, the town’s police dog.

Not to be missed at Family Fun Day was a dunk tank. Merrimack’s police chief, Mark Doyle, was immersed dozens of times by those whose baseball throws triggered a device that hastened his drop into the drink. Tickets for the diversion, which also dampened some town council members and other volunteers, benefited the Fraser Square Veterans Memorial project. The project will bring a new monument to a site at Railroad Avenue and Daniel Webster Highway where only a modest marker now stands.

The annual Independence Day fireworks, held at 9 p.m., Sunday, July 6, at Merrimack High School, 38 McElwain Street, commenced on a clear, breezy night that ensured spectators could leave the rain gear at home. Some families reclined on blankets. Others toted folding chairs. Personnel from the Merrimack Fire and Rescue department and the Merrimack Police department, including an officer on a big, white Harley-Davidson, shared the event with hundreds of spectators.

Haley Moore, of Merrimack, a student at Daniel Webster College, watched the fireworks with fellow student, Alex Richards, of the United Kingdom. Richards said he was amazed at the day’s celebrations.

“It’s fantastic,” Richards said. “It’s a great experience to see another culture. I’m taking it all in.”

For more details on any of the Independence Day activities in Merrimack, visit www.merrimack4th.com.

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