Friday, August 2, 2019

Kick Off Day begins the 200th anniversary and year-long celebration of Maine’s statehood

Sen. Bill Diamond, Gov. Janet Mills, Portland Mayor
Ethan Strimling
By Matt Pascarella

Governor Janet Mills joined the Maine Bicentennial Commission, a committee in charge of planning and coordinating programs in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Maine voting to leave Massachusetts. The events launched the commemoration of the State of Maine’s bicentennial at four communities across the state on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. Governor Mills and the Commission, of which Senator Bill Diamond is the Chairman, visited Presque Isle, Bangor, Portland and Augusta. 

They raised the bicentennial flag, dedicated commemorative pine groves and announced programs
and events for Maine’s 200th anniversary of Statehood.

As stated in the recent press release, “Bicentennial Kickoff Day coincides with the 200th anniversary of the affirmative vote to separate the District of Maine from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in July of 1819.”
Mayor Ethan Strimling opened the Portland ceremony, which took place in Deering Oaks Park. “As we celebrate our 200 years of history it’s important we recognize all of those who have come to build our state and those who will come in the future...we would not be as strong as we are today if not for
everyone that’s come here.”

Senator Bill Diamond spoke shortly after and began by thanking members of the Bicentennial Commission for all the time and work they have put in. Diamond mentioned some of the spectacular events that would be happening in 2020 all around the state; including the arrival of the tall ships, parades and the sealing of the time capsule.

He added that the goal of the Commission was, “To provide communities, cities and towns with resources so they can put together their own celebrations.” Money has been raised and communities can apply for community grants. Senator Diamond added the Commission wants to fund as many as they can. “We’re really looking forward to making this the celebration that it should be, 200 years; and we’re going to try and do it just as right as we can.”

Governor Mills, Senator Diamond and Mayor Strimling then each grabbed their shovels and dedicated commemorative pine groves. Janet Mills spoke next and stated she was honored to join the Bicentennial Commission chair, Bill Diamond, Mayor Strimling and so many other in launching the commemoration of Maine’s 200th anniversary statehood. “Maine has a proud and storied history and our bicentennial offers us the opportunity to recommit ourselves to the values that shaped us as a state and as a people,” Governor Mills declared. “This unique place we call home offers so much to so many. “Maine is not just about
natural beauty...but it’s about its people. For more than 200 years sons and daughters of Maine with courage in their souls and kindness in their hearts...have built this state and lead the nation.” Maine is made up of all kinds of people “they make Maine as great as it is.”

A few facts about Maine:
*Maine was the 23rd state to join the Union and did so in 1820.

*With its 16 counties, 3,500 miles of coastline and 17 million acres of forest, the Pine Tree state is a place many are proud to call home.

*Some famous Mainers include author Stephen King, actress Anna Kendrick, author E.B. White, actor Patrick Dempsey and Olympic athlete Joan Benoit Samuelson as well as children’s singer/songwriter Rick Charette (just to name a very small amount).

According to the website
*Bangor claims to be the birthplace of Paul Bunyan. A titan-size statue in the city is one of the largest in the country, rivaled only by Akeley, Minnesota, reminding Bangor residents of their connection to this character of American legend.

*Portland is home to the International Cryptozoology Museum, showcasing Yetis, Bigfoots and other well-known oddities. It’s located by Thompson’s Point in Portland.

“Wherever you go, whatever you do, whomever you are with, tell them about the great place you come from...we will always greet you with a hearty hug and a ‘welcome home,’” concluded Governor Mills.

The Sebago Lakes Region communities are making their plans for Maine’s bicentennial celebrations,
including right here in Windham. Some upcoming events include:

  • A kick-off event in October 2019 – possibly in conjunction with the widely attended Public Safety Fair – that helps “get the party started”
  • A celebration in March 2020 that commemorates the date that Maine became a state. The Windham Public Library will likely host a Bicentennial themed tea with birthday cake or some other type of birthday party type event
·       Summerfest 2020 will have the bicentennial as the theme and there will be a Windham History bus tour is in the works for Summerfest as well. For more information on Maine’s milestone and events happening throughout the year please visit

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