By Brian Swartz
Weekly Staff Editor
HERMON, Maine — Six years before Maine became a state, people living in Plantation No. 2 next to Bangor petitioned the Massachusetts General Court to establish a self-governing town. Residents incorporated the 36.81-square-mile town of Hermon on July 13, 1814.
— and 199½ years later, Hermon residents will kick off their town’s bicentennial on Sunday, Dec. 29. Festivities will culminate in a bicentennial birthday bash next August.
“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” said Scott Perkins, director of parks and recreation and public works. “We’re excited about celebrating the town.”
Responding to a Hermon Town Council directive to form a group, the Hermon Bicentennial Committee coalesced earlier this year to come up with some celebration ideas, Perkins said. Committee members include Perkins, Hermon Recreation Programmer Michelle Thayer, Town Councilor Anne Freeman, and Town Manager Roger Raymond.
“We will focus on Hermon and connecting our community so our residents can get together and enjoy themselves [at different events],” Perkins said.
Two bicentennial events will take place in the next few days:
• An opening worship service will be held at 1o a.m., Sunday, Dec. 29 at Hermon Baptist Church, 2496 U.S. Route 2.
According to the Rev. Garnett Chute, town officials and residents are invited to attend the service, which will feature a PowerPoint presentation about the town founded in 1814 and the [Baptist] church founded in 1869. The presentation will include historic photos.
Other bicentennial-related aspects will include “some of the older hymns from that timeframe and some special music,” Chute said. Marvin Overlock, a bicentennial committee member, will present an oral history of Hermon, and Scott Perkins will talk about events concerning the coming year’s celebration, Chute said.
“People hopefully will be dressing up in era clothing from the 1800s,” he said.
Initially there were three churches in Hermon, and the town’s name took its name from a Holy Land landmark. “The town was named by a circuit-riding preacher after Mount Hermon in the Bible,” Chute said.
Hermon Baptist Church, which can seat 500 people in its sanctuary, is the only surviving church left in town of the original three, Chute said. The other early churches were located on the Coldbrook and Stage roads.
• A New Year’s Eve Bicentennial Dance will be held 8 p.m.-1 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 31, at Morgan Hill Event Center on Route 2 in Hermon. Tickets are $75 per couple. $37.50 per individual; the price includes a cash bar, a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres and a hot breakfast served after midnight. To purchase tickets, call the Hermon Recreation and Parks Department at 848-4075 or go to hermon.net and click on the bicentennial logo. Scroll down the page to the ticket form.
Other events will unfold in 2014 as Hermon-related organizations gear up for the bicentennial. A popular horse show held annually in Hermon has been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 2, as part of bicentennial festivities.
For several years Hermon Recreation and Parks has sponsored a Summer Sizzler, held the second weekend of each August at the Hermon Elementary School. In 2014 the Bicentennial Sizzler is our big summer event, Perkins said. Organizations ranging from local athletic teams and the Hermon Fire Department to local veterans’ groups always participate in the Summer Sizzler weekend, he indicated. “For next year we are already receiving a lot of community support for the Bicentennial Sizzler,” Perkins said.
The two-day Bicentennial Sizzler will take place Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 9-10. Among the planned events are a parade, a car show held at Hermon High School on Aug. 10, a fireworks display by Central Maine Pyrotechnics (which handles the annual Summer Sizzler fireworks), and an evening service at Hermon Baptist Church to close officially the bicentennial festivities.
After a long hiatus, the Hermon car show resumed this year and drew 125 vehicles, Perkins pointed out. “We hope for an even larger turnout next year,” he said.
The Hermon Bicentennial Committee is seeking widespread community support. “If you’re interested, this is your town, this is your event,” Perkins said. “We invite everyone to become involved [in the bicentennial festivities].”
For information about the Hermon Bicentennial, contact:
• Scott Perkins at 207-848-1010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Michelle Thayer at 207-848-4075 or email@example.com.