WINTERPORT, Maine — One hundred fifty years ago, residents of the northernmost winter port on the Penobscot River broke off from the town of Frankfort to make their own municipality.
Starting on Saturday, contemporary residents of Winterport will gather to celebrate that milestone with a week’s worth of festivities, including fireworks, a large parade, a mile-long yard sale, a barbecue, a talent night and the annual Winterport Music Festival.
“It not only gives the community an opportunity to brag about itself, it also gives us some identity,” Town Council chairman Joe Brooks said Monday of Winterport’s 150th summer birthday celebration. “Everybody’s doing something — and to me, that is wonderful. It’s a real indication of the willingness of this community to pull together and celebrate itself.”
The birthday party will begin on Saturday, July 31, with a mile-long yard sale, a farmers market, fireworks and a parade that Brooks described as “growing by the day.”
“It promises to be the largest parade this town has ever seen,” he said. “Usually it’s the old cliche — if you blink your eyes, you’ll miss it. This time, I’ll guess it’s going to be a mile long.”
Other highlights include a multidenominational church service on Sunday, Aug. 1, at Union Meeting House, followed by a town barbecue, then the first edition of “Winterport’s Got Talent” night on Thursday, Aug. 5.
All festivities will culminate Saturday, with the fifth annual Winterport Music Festival, featuring a children’s fun area, local foods and musical acts including Ernie & the Automatics, Orono native blues belter Leah Tysse, the Aurora Jazz Project, Blue Northern, Sweet Northern Blues and Mudseason.
“We just love it here,” Brooks said about Winterport.
He and others said the summer birthday party — the actual date of independence from Frankfort happened in March, according to officials — would never have happened without the energy and interest of the Winterport Area Business Association.
That group has had a rebirth in the last year and a half, said Town Manager Phil Pistula.
“Winterport is a wonderful little town,” he said. “Very active. Good people doing good things.”
For more information about Winterport’s 150th Summer Birthday Celebration, visit www.winterportmaine.gov.