LINCOLN, Maine — It takes the town Homecoming Committee about 770 hours of work spread across a year to make one four-day homecoming celebration a success, member Jeannine Gardner said.
With town Events Coordinator Shelly Crosby doing most of the running for them, committee members help line up entertainers, deal with vendors and troubleshoot past homecomings for improvements. They fix problems, dissect praise and criticism and work to incorporate residents’ wishes into shaping of homecoming, Gardner said.
They also do hands-on labor during the festival.
“Trying to please everybody is the hardest part of it,” committee member and Town Councilor David Whalen said Monday. “You can’t please everybody, but we sure do try.”
The committee’s efforts pleased the Maine Spirit of America Foundation, which gave the 2010 Maine Spirit of America Foundation Award to the town during a council meeting on Monday. A state-supported organization, the foundation strives to recognize volunteerism and well-organized community events across Maine.
Held in July, the homecoming, which has gone by several names over the years, attracts as many as 10,000 people to town, some from as far away as Alaska. It features a fireworks show, parade, dances, barbecues, a road race, ATV runs, auctions, car shows and live music, among other things.
It is a moveable feast, occurring at Cobb Field, downtown, Veterans Square, Lincoln Memorial Library and Prince Thomas Park, among other places, that helps celebrate Lincoln history while giving town businesses a boost.
Councilors and a representative from the office of U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, praised committee members for their work.
“It’s great for the town to be recognized like this,” Councilor Rod Carr said after the meeting. “Usually awards like this don’t come along very often. They [committee members] are fantastic.”
This year’s committee members include Joni Smith, Karen Lane, Brenda Jipson, Genia Dill, Mattanawcook Academy student Jennifer Rider, Whalen, Gardner and Don Worchester Jr. Many have worked together for years, Gardner said.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the efforts of Shelly Crosby and the Homecoming Festival Committee’s exceptional commitment to public service,” Snowe said in her letter to the town. “This ceremony is the community’s way of thanking you all for your immeasurable contributions.”
The 2010 Lincoln Homecoming Festival is set for July 15-18. The next committee meeting is 5:30 p.m. April 26 at the town office. Anyone interested in volunteering, donating to or participating in the homecoming can contact Crosby at 794-6548 or firstname.lastname@example.org.