News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, October 17, 2019
Voters approve $10,000 for Bicentennial celebration

by Monique Labbe

Residents at a special town meeting on October 15 voted to approve $10,000 from the town’s surplus account to kick start next year’s Maine 200th anniversary celebration events in Castine.

The highlight of the event will be to bring in the Coast Guard Eagle, a Class A tall ship similar to the size and scale of the Hermione, which came to Castine in 2015. The total cost for infrastructure, transportation, programming, and other items will be about $175,000. That money will largely come from fundraising and grant funding.

Helen Miller, who also helped organize the Hermione visit, spoke at the special town meeting about the importance of being part of the official celebrations next year, and that while the two-day affair will be expensive, the revenue brought into the town will be “well worth it.”

“We’re looking at about $223,000 over the course of those two days,” said Miller. “We will be marketed on the official Bicentennial website and in all other Bicentennial Committee marketing campaigns. It’s going to really unite people and bring them into our town.”

Castine Visitor Center Director Alyssa Radcliff asked whether the town would still receive the same marketing if they raised the necessary funds without taking any money from the surplus account. Town Manager Shawn Blodgett responded that while the marketing would most likely remain the same, the town contributing funds directly would make grant money “much easier” to get.

“I think it’s important for us to have skin in the game,” he said.

The town voted unanimously to approve the funds, as well as to allow the town to accept and disburse funds for Castine’s Maine 200th Celebration, should they not be able to find a nonprofit to take the reins.

The town’s Bicentennial celebration is scheduled for July 12-13, 2020.