Not a town, but still a community

Posted July 07, 2009, at 7:34 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:46 a.m.

BENEDICTA, Maine — Reid Stanley acknowledged Tuesday afternoon that since Benedicta deorganized in 1987, it is no longer a “town” in the strict sense of the word.

But it certainly remains a community, and the approximately 225 residents who call the township home are preparing to celebrate it in style.

Benedicta will hold its 175th anniversary celebration next month.

Stanley, a member of the group planning the fete to be held the weekend of Aug. 1-2, said Tuesday the celebration will blend past and present to offer something for everyone.

In 1834, Benedict Fenwick, Catholic bishop of Boston, first sent Irish settlers to the area that is now Benedicta. They created a farming community and established St. Benedict’s parish, incorporating the town in 1873.

The vast rural community remains surrounded by farmland and forests. The town deorganized in 1987 and let the state take over what many considered the focal point of the community, the Benedicta Elementary School, which closed in June 2008.

Stanley said the township’s rich history will be a prominent part of the future celebration.

“I grew up in Kingfield, but I have lived here for 30 years,” Stanley said Tuesday afternoon. “The people here are close. This is a close-knit community where people look out for each other, and we are proud of that.”

The celebration will feature a number of events, according to Stanley.

A parade will kick off the event at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1. Organizers hope to fill the parade’s ranks with marching units, antique equipment and music.

A quilt show will follow, as well as an antique car and tractor show.

A historical display and discussion will take place along with children’s games and activities, a baked bean supper and a band performance.

On Sunday, a Mass will be held at St. Benedict’s Church and a short memorial service will take place in the cemetery. The service will bless those who started the community, Stanley said.

A tailgate party and then music and local entertainment will take place. A Catholic religious ceremony will conclude the festivities.

Most of the events will be held on the church grounds.

Stanley said local historians will be in attendance to answer questions about the history of the township.

Organizers are hoping for a large turnout at every event.

“This entire celebration is about community,” Stanley said Tuesday. “This is a very giving community with a rich history that deserves to be celebrated.”

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