Here Comes the Big Parade!

By Jayna Smith

A celebration of the friendship between the two international communities of St. Stephen, New Brunswick and Calais, Maine, the International Homecoming Festival brings many together as one community.  With events held on both sides of the border, the fun, entertaining, and unique parade makes the hometown festival complete.  Alternating starting points each year between Calais and St. Stephen, then proceeding through each downtown, the festival's grand parade promotes the purpose of its grand celebration.  

This year, the International Homecoming Festival Parade will begin at 12:00 pm EST on the Calais side, commencing on lower Barker Street near Dead River Oil.  The procession will then follow the route of Main Street, through downtown Calais, across Ferry Point Bridge, to Milltown Boulevard, through downtown St. Stephen, to King Street, ending at Border Arena.  

As a safety measure, no items are permitted to be thrown from any parade entrant.  Candy and promotional items are welcomed to be passed to spectators.  Additionally, each participant in the parade is required to complete a liability waiver prior to the start of the parade.  These applications can be found at the Calais City Building or St. Stephen Town Hall.  To help cover the costs of the bands that march in the parade and other professional units, the fee for commercial entries is $25 and for non-commercial entries is $10.  


Parade organization has been led by various groups over the years, including the St. Stephen Jaycees and, until just last year, the St. Stephen Lions Club.  This year, the St. Stephen Kiwanis Club has taken the reigns to organize the grand International Homecoming Festival Parade.