New security issues arise at International parade
Published Sunday, August 13, 2017 3:32PM ADT
Hundreds gathered in downtown St. Stephen on Saturday, to watch the annual International parade, but new security issues have been making what used to be a simple event a little more complicated.
Go-carts took to the streets while princesses waved to onlookers as the parade crossed the border between Maine and New Brunswick for its 44th year.
"It joins our two communities, which is my eyes one community but it keeps us linked together,” said St. Stephen mayor, Allan MacEachern.
MacEachern says everything fell into place for a successful parade this year but security issues were one of this year’s greatest challenges.
"One of the biggest hurdles is getting all of that paper work in so you are approved across the borders,” he says.
All 50 floats involved in Saturday’s parade had to pre-register to get security clearance to cross the border.
“Before 9/11 it was a lot easier,” said volunteer, Guy White. “Half the time border crossing guards stood and watched the parade go by.”
Security demands have been steadily increasing by American authorities every year and with a shortage of volunteers, organizers says the parade almost didn't happen.
"They want to know who's coming and who is going and they have to know, you just can't people walk freely through that border,” said White.
Volunteers say port authorities at the border extended their deadlines until Friday this year, just so the parade could happen.
"So many people have family and friends that live on both sides of the border,” said MP for New Brunswick Southwest, Karen Ludwig. “Our supply chains in terms of commerce are heavily integrated so that flow of traffic from one side to the other really is a truly symbolic of our friendship and our testament of two nations that work together for a stronger North America.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.