This year marks Maine’s bicentennial having been part of the union for 200 years. The state of Maine was incorporated into the union on March 15, 1820 after becoming independent from Massachusetts, seeing a period of economic and agricultural prosperity following its induction into statehood.
On March 14, the town of Orono will hold an event to celebrate both the town’s 214th birthday and the state of Maine’s bicentennial anniversary. Community Development Director David L. Milan said that the Town of Orono, a state-wide bicentennial committee and the University of Maine are currently hard at work planning this celebration to conjoin the two momentous days.
Milan found the fact that these two events were so close in date surprising and coincidental.
“[The bicentennial celebration] was almost an ironic event, because we were looking at creating a March event to celebrate Orono’s birthday,” Milan noted.
By combining two large celebrations into one, it will make event planning much easier on the community.
“When we found out that the Bicentennial Committee was looking for communities to host bicentennial activities in March as well, and it’s for the same week, we said, ‘Well it just makes sense to partner and do these things together,’” Milan explained.
Milan also discussed his hopes for this celebration. One of the goals of this celebration is to highlight some of Orono’s most popular sites, as well as the communities of people who live in Orono. Milan noted that the celebration is planning to include a historical house tour, a fun run and a taste of Orono dinner, among other activities.
Committee members, town officials, restaurant owners and others will hold the taste of Orono in one of Orono’s most prominent buildings, the Stone Manor. This is an event for local restaurants and breweries, such as Orono Brewing Company, to offer guests samples of some of their most popular dishes. While the event will serve as an opportunity to advertise and network with others to spread the word about the opportunities in Orono, it will also serve as a fun and refreshing way to celebrate community accomplishments.
Milan noted that local chapters of organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, the American Legion and the Orono Historical Society will also attend the event. Milan stated that he had reached out to Penobscot leaders and invited them to take part in the celebratory events. While the Penobscot leaders have yet to respond, Milan is hopeful about including the Penobscot Nation in the celebrations.
The state of Maine will be hosting events related to the celebration of the bicentennial around the state throughout the year. Many of Maine’s libraries are hoping that this celebration will reinvigorate Mainers’ interest in Maine’s history, and are encouraging people to reach out to their local libraries and historical societies to support their communities’ histories.
For more information about Maine’s many bicentennial initiatives and celebrations visit https://www.maine200.org/calendar.