PITTSFIELD, Maine — The Central Maine Egg Festival, a summertime tradition dating back 37 years, begins today with four days of family-friendly activities throughout the town of Pittsfield.
Two parades, a carnival, an Egglympics competition for children and a quiche and cheesecake contest are just a few of the events that together make up what organizers hope will be small-town fun on a large scale for people of all ages.
A new corporate sponsorship program that raised more than $20,000 and new policies designed to bring more nonprofit groups to the festival have combined to make this potentially the best Egg Festival in recent memory, said festival president Deb Billings.
“We would not be having a festival this year if it were not for the unflinching support of these sponsors,” said Billings. “I met with 32 sponsors and of all 32, no one said no.”
Many of the festival events will take place at Manson Park in downtown Pittsfield, though there are several offerings in other locations. An art show at the Pittsfield Public Library will feature local artists beginning at 10 a.m. today and running through the festival. The first of several opportunities for dancing will begin at 7 p.m. today with a street dance in the municipal parking lot.
Children ages 3-16 are invited to test their mettle during the Egglympics, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Hathorn Park. Watermelon eating, an egg toss and rubber-chicken-throwing contests are just a few of the activities planned. The rain location for this event is the Warsaw Middle School gymnasium. Billings said the Egglympics are part of an effort to provide activities for even the youngest children.
On Thursday, the Marketplace Tent at Manson Park will begin to feature Maine crafters and artisans beginning at 4 p.m., and the Kiwanis Kiddie Parade begins at 6 p.m., leading into Manson Park for the Kiwanis Karnival midway, which opens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and all day Saturday. Also on Thursday is a win-dow-painting contest downtown, which begins at 10 a.m. with preregistration at Pittsfield Public Library.
The Quiche and Cheesecake Contest, which will be judged by members of the Pittsfield Town Office, kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Elks Lodge on Middle Street. Entries are due at the lodge by 10 a.m.
From 6 to 8 a.m. Saturday is the traditional Egg Festival Breakfast at Manson Park, followed by the “Famous Big Parade” beginning at 9:15 a.m. at the Pittsfield Industrial Park and proceeding to Manson Park.
Manson Park will be the center of activity throughout the day Saturday, with events including a lunchtime chicken and steak barbecue, a firefighters muster and a bike rodeo that begins at 12:30 p.m.
The Egg Festival concludes Saturday night with a fireworks show at dusk, sponsored by the Pittsfield Area Kiwanis Club.
Billings, whose mother-in-law helped found the festival in 1973, said she became involved with the intent of improving it.
“I had seen the festival struggling in the last few years with not a lot of money and not many volunteers,” she said. “I just decided that I and a lot of other volunteers needed to step up this year.”
For a full schedule of events, visit the Central Maine Egg Festival’s website, http://eggfest.craftah.com.