PORTLAND, Maine — Maine officials predict more people will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend compared with last year because of good weather and lower gas prices.
The Center for Tourism Research and Outreach at the University of Southern Maine projects traffic volume at the Maine Turnpike’s York toll plaza will be 2 percent higher than last year. The York plaza is heavily used by tourists entering the state from the south.
Charles Colgan, the center’s associate director, said the recession is still having an impact on travel. He said that projected weekend volume will be about 1 percent below the average Memorial Day weekend traffic volume over the past five years.
All told, more than 625,000 vehicles are expected to enter the turnpike from all exits between York and Augusta over the four-day weekend.
Greeting the holiday travelers Friday at the York toll plaza will be Maine Turnpike mascots Miles the Moose and D. Claude Lobster.
Turnpike toll collectors also will mark the unofficial beginning of the summer tourist season by passing out 10,000 promotional postcards designed by the Maine Office of Tourism. The cards feature Maine scenes and thank visitors for coming to the state.
In past years, the moose and lobster mascots appeared on Labor Day to bid farewell to visitors and summer tourism.
Turnpike spokesman Dan Paradee said Friday will be the first time that the toll road has taken part in a promotional event for Memorial Day.
Below is a list of some of the events planned for the Memorial Day weekend:
Augusta — Togus VA Medical Center will conduct a Memorial Day observance Monday, May 25. Participants should meet at 7:45 a.m. in the Building 205 parking lot. Observances include placing wreaths in the west section of the Togus National Cemetery, rifle salute, and taps by the Maine Military Funeral Honors Team.
Bangor — The Memorial Day Parade will be led by the 101st Air Refueling Wing Color Guard. The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. May 25 on Exchange Street, proceeds along Harlow to Central, down Central to Main, and up Main Street to Davenport Park at Cedar and Main streets. At Davenport Park there will be a memorial ceremony with music selections by the Bangor Band and the Bangor High School Band. A wreath will be placed on the Battleship Maine Monument honoring all those who have served our country. The ceremony will conclude with a 21-gun salute, taps and a benediction by the Rev. Rex Garrett. Veterans are welcome to march in units or ride in buses.
Bangor — Maine veterans of the war on global terrorism may receive maple walking sticks from the Cole Land Transportation Museum by presenting proof of service, 9-10:20 a.m. Memorial Day at tables under canopy by TD Banknorth on Exchange Street.
Bangor — Afternoon program, Memorial Day, Cole Land Transportation Museum, 405 Perry Road. Address by Maj. Gen. John Libby. Awards and essay readings by winners of “What Freedom Means to Me After Interviewing a Veteran.” Patriotic concert by Bangor High School Band. Refreshments available from band boost-ers.
Bingham — Parade, 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, Old Union Church to Route 201 Cemetery then to World War I marker, the library and the old post office. Music provided by the Valley High School Band and trumpeter Jim West.
Clifton — Memorial Day worship service, 9:30 a.m. May 24, Clifton United Baptist Church, 742 Airline Road. Breakfast follows.
Charlotte — Memorial Day service at 8:15 a.m. Monday, May 25, Round Pond Cemetery, followed by brunch at Charlotte Town Hall. For information, call Charlotte Historical Society president Arthur Carter at 454-8238.
Corinna — Parade begins at 8 a.m. Monday, May 25, from Corinna Elementary School to Route 7 and the Levi Stewart Town Hall. Sebasticook and Somerset Valley Middle School bands will be participating.
Dennysville — Parade begins 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 25, at Congregational church and goes to Dennysville Cemetery; short program at monument and at upper bridge; short program and flag ceremony at cemetery; refreshments at Parish Hall afterward.
Fort Kent — Parade sponsored by American Legion Post 133 and VFW Post 9609 begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 24; assemble at Martin Ford at noon.
Frankfort — Memorial Day service, 8 a.m. May 25, Veterans Memorial Park, center of town.
Hampden — Parade at 9 a.m. starting at the Post Home on Canoe Club Road. The parade will march to Locust Grove Cemetery, where a ceremony will be held. A short service will take place at the Post Home at 8:30 a.m. For information, call Charles Gould at 862-3581.
Hartland — Parade, 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, from Hartland Tannery Annex to the town cemetery to Pittsfield Avenue Square and then Warren Square. Nokomis Regional High School Band will participate.
Holden — Wreath-placing ceremony, 2:30 p.m. Monday, May 25, at the Veterans Memorial on Route 1A.
Lewiston — Memorial Day parade, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 23, starts in front of Simones Hot Dog Stand and heads down Lisbon Street to Main Street, goes left on Main Street, crossing back and forth over the Gov. Longley Bridge and disbanding at Veterans Memorial Park.
Newport — Parade, 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, from Paris Farmers Union to Main Street, Elm Street to the American Legion Hall on North Street. Sebasticook and Somerset Valley Middle School bands will participate.
Newport — Memorial Day service, 2 p.m. Sunday, May 24, at North Newport Church. A special invitation is extended to military families and organizations. For information, contact Vic Buckland, 278-4557.
Norridgewock — Parade, 9 a.m. Monday, May 25, from Oosoola Park to the Veterans Monument on Main Street. The parade will feature the Skowhegan Area High School Band. The winner of the Veterans of Foreign Wars “What American Means to Me” essay contest will recite the winning speech.
Orono — Memorial Day parade, 10 a.m. from front parking lot at Orono High School, down Main Street, American Legion Post 84 ceremony at center of Stillwater Bridge, parade continuing to American Legion Hall on Park Street. Crossroads Ministries to collect nonperishable food items during parade. To participate in pa-rade, call Randy Adkins, 866-7103.
Pittsfield — Parade, 9 a.m. Monday, May 25, from Corner Cupboard on North Main Street to the Pittsfield Public Library, down Peltoma Avenue to the Pittsfield Cemetery.
Prospect — Parade, 11:30 a.m., one mile south of intersection of Route 174 and Route 1A. Bucksport Middle School band will play during parade and after at the veterans memorial in the center of town. There will be a float, antique cars and firetrucks.
Skowhegan — Parade, 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, Madison Avenue to Water Street and Veterans Memorial. The parade will honor the three surviving Whittemore brothers — Carleton, Alton and Henry — who served in World War II with their brothers Warren and Kendall, who died after the war.