Parades, fireworks highlight holiday

Amherst’s annual puppy parade was canceled and a sheep farm, fearing the heat would be too much for its tender lambs, left them home this year.

But last week’s heat wave didn’t stop people from attending Amherst’s big Fourth of July party that started with

July 3 evening activities included fireworks, tethered balloon rides and a band concert.

The next morning was the July Fourth parade, with plenty of floats, fire trucks, bands, clowns and antique cars and throngs of people on the sidelines.

The stars of the day turned out to be Paul Spiess and Nancy Head. During ceremonies that followed the parade, Spiess was named Citizen of the Year by the Amherst Lions Club, and July Fourth in Amherst was named ‘Nancy Head Day,’ to recognize the longtime parade organizer.

Head has retired, and this year the two-day celebration was run by the Four for the Fourth Team made up of Kimberly Ayers, Leslie Bennett, Gretchen Pyles, and Jennifer Eccleston.

“The gals did a great job,” Head told a reporter after the ceremonies. “I couldn’t ask for more.”

When asked why it now takes four people, she said graciously, “They have jobs. They have families.”

Speaking from the bandstand after the parade, Bob Gibson, president of the Amherst Lions Club, named a long list of Paul Spiess’ activities, praising his unselfish commitment to the local quality of life.

During his 38 years here, Spiess has served on the Souhegan Cooperative School Board and the district’s finance committee, the state Legislature, the Interfaith Housing Council, Share Outreach and the Bean Foundation. He was also named a Milford Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow.


Milford’s July Fourth Family Fun Day & Fireworks included activities at Keyes Park, a band concert and evening fireworks. The Star Spangled road race on Wednesday morning brought 79 adult runners, but participation in children’s activities were affected by the heat.

“I was very pleased” with the adult race, said Recreation Director Arene Berry. But the free 1k road race for children 12 and under had 42 kids in 2017, she said, attracted only eight this year.

Two children took part in the bicycle parade – an event that brought 50 children last year.