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Veterans' Welcome Home Week, 1946

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!

By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum

The week of July 1-6, 1946, a big event was held in Millinocket. It was Veterans’ Welcome Home Week, the first 4th of July since the end of WWII and the arrival home of the many local men and women who had served.

The museum has a copy of the program for that week…what a celebration it must have been! “Something to do every day…something to do every nite.” A grand prize to be awarded was “a new 1946 Ford Sedan to be given away free!” In addition to a huge parade on Thursday, July 4, there were two special parades, a bicycle parade on Monday and a baby parade on Saturday. These two parades featuring children were also held other years.

The week began with a baseball game on Sunday between the Emerson Pills and Highland A.C. of Bangor. Monday was the bicycle parade, a field day for children plus a baseball game (Pills vs Houlton), a vaudeville act (every night of the week) and street dancing on Penobscot Avenue. Tuesday was mostly for children with bicycle races (50yd., 100 yd., 220 yd., 440 yd. dashes). For older folks was an athletic tent and street dancing. Wednesday was dedicated to the returning veterans with speakers, a band concert in the park and a lavish military ball.

Thursday was the highlight of the week with the huge parade of floats decorated and sponsored by various organizations and businesses. That took place at 9:30 in the morning and was followed by a baseball game between the Pills and Island Falls. During the afternoon, strength was on display during a tug-of-war between Army and Navy vets. This was followed by a second baseball game between the Pills and Island Falls. Fireworks in the evening completed a very busy day!

Friday of a busy week had kid’s kayak races, a canoe race and a softball game for girls. On Saturday, many wonderfully decorated baby carriages (some with baby on board) paraded down Penobscot Avenue. Crepe paper was the major decorating material used then for the carriages, bicycles and floats in all the parades).

A street dance at 9 PM was the final event of the week-long celebration culminating with the drawing to determine the winner of the Ford car at 11 PM. I wonder who won!!

Meals were served Wednesday through Saturday of this celebration week at the Odd Fellows Hall. Wednesday supper (Italian style spaghetti), Thursday (dinner, roast turkey & supper, assorted salads), Friday (dinner, Penobscot River salmon & supper, fish chowder) and Saturday (dinner, beef pot roast & supper, baked beans). The dinner price was $1.25 and the supper price was $.75. What a bargain!!

A street dance at 9 PM was the final event of the week-long celebration culminating with the drawing to determine the winner of the Ford car at 11 PM. I wonder who won!!




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