June 23, 2018
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Echoes magazine celebrates 25 years of showcasing life in Aroostook County

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Kathryn Olmstead
By Julia Bayly, BDN Staff

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — For 25 years, Echoes magazine has documented, celebrated and preserved the unique community spirit of northern Maine.

This Sunday, the magazine is throwing a party for itself in honor of a quarter-century anniversary of continuous quarterly publication.

The event kicks off at 3 p.m. at the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s campus center with readings, music, refreshments with a number of Echoes writers, artists and photographers on hand for readings and to sell copies of their works.

“The popularity of Echoes can be attributed to the readers,” Kathryn Olmstead, Echoes co-founder and publisher, said. “They are from all over the country and are so enthusiastic and faithful to those ties with Aroostook County.”

Echoes began 25 years ago when Olmstead, along with Gordon Hammond, collaborated to develop a publication to promote Maine’s northernmost county.

“It was really the evolution that came from two people with compatible dreams,” she said. “And we have said over and over, it really took on a life of its own.”

Over the years the magazine has featured essays, poems, narratives, first person accounts and photo-essays documenting what it means to live in Aroostook County.

“The two of us were both ‘from away,’” Olmstead, herself a Michigan native, said, adding Hammond is originally from Long Island. “In our experience, a place like Aroostook County is the kind of place most people can only imagine.”

Olmstead said she and Hammond wanted to share the experience of living in an area where people not only leave vehicles unattended and unlocked, but running in the winter to keep the engines’ warm.

“These are the kinds of things we take for granted but the rest of the world can’t believe,” she said.

Olmstead would not specify any one story or project as a favorite in 25 years, but did say the stories that inspire writers to keep writing are among her greatest joys.

“It doesn’t matter if you are published or not,” she said. “Write your stories and experiences down for future generations to share.”

Among the readers’ favorites is Glenna Smith’s regular column, “Old Country Woman,” which inspired a book, Olmstead said.

As for the next 25 years, Olmstead has no fear of running out of material about Aroostook County.

“I have boxes of story ideas with topics arranged by town from Allagash to Wallagrass and by topics from Acadians to Vodka,” she said with a laugh. “No way will I ever run out of stories.”

Sunday’s 25th anniversary celebration is open to the public. More information on Echoes is available at the website http://www.echoesofmaine.com/

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