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Lisbon Falls celebrates Maine’s official soft drink, Moxie, in style

Posted July 14, 2012, at 3:56 p.m.
Festival-goers in Lisbon Falls on Saturday, July 14, 2012.
Festival-goers in Lisbon Falls on Saturday, July 14, 2012.

LISBON FALLS, Maine — Thousands of people, many dressed in orange, coursed through Lisbon Falls’ closed down Main Street Saturday to celebrate Maine’s official — and somewhat strange tasting — soft drink: Moxie. The three-day affair started 30 years ago when local businessman Frank Anicetti organized a book signing for Frank Potter, who wrote “The Moxie Mystique.”

The festival now includes a three-day powwow, Friday night fireworks, a Saturday parade attracting over 100 floats, lots of local food, a 5K race and, on Sunday, the Chief Worumbo Androscoggin River Race and the Moxie Car Show. Moxie was designated Maine’s official soft drink on May 20, 2005.

Dr. Augustin Thompson of Union, Maine, first marketed Moxie as a patent medicine in 1876 in Lowell, Mass. It was “guaranteed” to cure multiple ills, including “loss of manhood, paralysis and softening of the brain.” As a nostrum, it was dispensed a spoonful at a time. Dr. Thompson changed Moxie to take advantage of the new and growing soft-drink market at the time. He put it on the soft-drink market in 1884 as “Beverage Moxie Nerve Food.”

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