MACHIAS, Maine — It may require a special burn permit to light all the candles, but Machias is already planning next year’s 250th birthday celebration.
A broad coalition of community boosters already is hard at work planning an array of special events with most occurring between June 15 and June 22, 2013.
“There are dozens of small efforts already under way around town in preparation for the 250th birthday celebration next year,” said Sharon Kiley Mack, chairwoman of the birthday committee. “It seems the anniversary has become the tipping point for a lot of projects that have been on the back burner.”
The Machias Rotary Club, she said, has cleared a trail from the downtown Bad Little Falls Park to “Foster’s Rubicon,” a marker on Elm Street that commemorates the spot where in 1775 Benjamin Foster rallied local residents to resist the British during the opening days of the American Revolution.
Mack said the Beehive Design Collective also is using several grants to make improvements to the Bad Little Falls overlook and park, and that the Machias Chamber of Commerce is revitalizing its efforts to upgrade Station 1898, a long-abandoned, Main Street railroad depot that now abuts Down East Sunrise Trail. The American Legion and the DAR also are revitalizing the Veterans’ Memorial Park.
“The support for this has been tremendous,” Mack said. “Everybody seems to be saying, ‘What can we do?’”
Mack said she’s very excited by news that Mona Caron, an internationally prominent muralist, is planning to come from San Francisco to Machias at the behest of the Beehive to create a mural that depicts the rich history of the town.
“This is a major coup for Machias, as Mona Caron cancelled a European mural project to come here because of her high respect for the Beehive and its work,” Mack said. “The Beehive will also be collecting historical stories of the community at the same time.”
The celebration is themed “Back To Our Roots.” Mack said many of the activities being planned draw on historical programs staged during the town’s 1913 and 1963 anniversary celebrations.
“From January through May there will be a series of historical presentations every other week at the Grange and a series of old-fashioned sewing bees for the community to create period costumes,” Mack said.
As the first settlers of Machias came ashore from southern Maine to scout timber on May 20, 1763, there will be a special commemoration on May 20, 2013.
“There were 16 original settlers, so we’ll have a 16-gun salute from the dike,” Mack said. “And we’ll make sure that every siren, bell and whistle in town is sounded.”