Together Days revisits 1980s

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The Saco & Biddeford Savings float won first place with their Ghostbusters look.

WESTBROOK — It was the 1980s all over again in Westbrook Saturday as families lined Main Street to cheer on the floats in the Together Days parade.

The theme for the 40th year of Together Days was “1980s revisited.” In commemoration of the anniversary, parade participants marched and drove the streets decked out in classic 80s attire. Those in the parade wore classic 80s pieces, from neon bright tanktops and shorts to leopard print leggings complete with teased hair and side ponytails. Of the themed floats, three were picked as winners.

“It was the first year in a while we had floats,” event organizer Suzanne Joyce said, and they were “great.” 

Saco & Biddeford Savings won first place in the float contest, followed by Westbrook Strong in second and the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland third.

Saco & Biddeford Savings took their float back to 1984, creating a “Ghostbusters” car that blasted the movie’s iconic theme song. Following along behind the float were some employees and their families, wearing the classic tan jumpsuits seen in the popular film.

While the parade pulled the crowds to the sidewalks Saturday morning, Together Days offered much more over the two days it took place.

“I come off and on each year, and there are more tents and rides this year,” said Westbrook resident Brent Akeley, whose wife was in the parade with Ernie’s Bike Shop.

Together Days featured a 5K race, numerous food vendors, carnival rides, demonstrations and live music from a main stage in the park. Fireworks Saturday night capped off the festival. 

Volunteers and visitors alike noted how Together Days has truly become something much larger than what it started out as.

“It hasn’t grown as much as followed the footsteps of its followers,” Westbrook Women’s Club member Roberta Morrill said.

The Women’s Club is credited with starting Together Days 40 years back. The Club itself is also celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year, making the event even more special for members.

“It’s an event that welcomes everyone,” Morrill said.

Some residents have been coming year after year and know firsthand just how the event has grown since the Westbrook/Gorham Chamber of Commerce took it on  over 30 years ago.

“I used to work in Westbrook years back,” Scarborough resident Jan Keene said. “It used to be just stores selling on the sidewalk and a small parade. We didn’t have Riverbank Park back then, so it is nice to see people still coming together after 40 years.”

For others, Together Days has grown to the point where it was on their radar enough that they decided to attend.

“It was my first year checking it out,” Portland resident Lauren Parks said. “I heard about it previous years and thought now with my daughter it would be fun, and it’s a great time.”

For local shops and organizations, Together Days brings exposure to programs and what the city has to offer.

Recreational sports teams to community dance troupes to community outreach groups had booths in between the food stalls, offering raffles and other enticements for visitors.

“It’s important to get the community together in a place that also can bring awareness to programs. Walking around, it really is eye opening to see how much Westbrook has for people,” Westbrook Soccer Club Vice President Peter Doolittle said.

For the organizers, bringing the community together and promoting what they have within their own city is the reason they do it.

“Thousands and thousands of people came, over the two days I get a sense it was over 10,000,” Joyce said. “I am very proud of the event … and hearing how it brings the community together is the feedback I love hearing.”

Chance Viles can be reached at 780-9092 or [email protected] Follow Chance on Twitter: @chanceviles. 

Fournier’s Karate students present their skills in the parade. Going along with the 80s theme, a young karate student wears the headband from 1984’s “Karate Kid.”

The Kiwanis International float.

Westbrook locals Kim Reinauer and Michael Harte and their children Jonah and Ingrid wait for the parade, which is what drew them to the event.

The Westbrook Strong float came in second place in the float competition.

A young ballplayer takes a throw at the dunk tank, with hopes of sinking his coach in the cold water.

Youth Baseball coach for the B2 Electric team Shawn Reed is drenched after being dunked by young ball players. “The water is real cold,” he said.

Members of the Womens Club wave to people from their float. The Womens Club started the event 40 years ago.

The Westbrook High School marching band plays their fight song.

The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland came in second place with their 80s cat-themed float.

The Kora Shriners zip by excited onlookers. The Shriners are a crowd favorite due to their fast, yet small cars.

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