In an effort that rivals the well-known movie plot from “Field of Dreams,” Morrill Worcester and his family have spent the last three weeks with shirtsleeves rolled and backs strained building a four acre outdoor amphitheater that will inevitably be known as Washington County’s answer to the Bangor Waterfront. A ribbon cutting will take place on Friday, Oct.4th at noon (off of Rt. 1 in Columbia Falls) and the ambitious construction of the amphitheater will have been completed in just shy of a month.
Worcester, best known as the founder of Wreaths Across America (WAA), a nationwide nonprofit based in Columbia Falls, Maine, would probably have been content to keep the project on his bucket list a while longer had his passion not been fueled by the Bar Harbor City Council’s decision to have WAA’s Veterans Tribute Tree dismantled from Agamont Park earlier this month.
“It was darned aggravating that political correctness and keeping 10 people happy ruined it for those who understood that it was all about the veterans. But what really got my goat was when the Town Manager called it ‘Tacky’ not once but twice right on TV,” said Worcester.
The WAA Board of Directors quickly decided to bring the lights, plaque and project to Columbia Falls. What happened then was the same grassroots swell of ideas that created the WAA project back in 2007.
Worcester decided he wanted to invite Lee Greenwood to sing at the tree lighting rededication because his song so eloquently speaks to those who serve and sacrifice. Once Greenwood accepted the invitation, the real work began.
What started as an idea turned a small hill on the Worcester Farm into a seating area to accommodate up to 16,500 people. Nestled among the trees that are tipped each year to make wreaths to cover veterans graves all over the country, adds to the ambiance of the already breath taking location. Cement blocks purchased years prior formed the base of the 45’ x 60’ stage, which will be fully covered with a Quonset-style dome purchased locally. The venue is conveniently located via the Down East Sunrise Trail.
True to the WAA way, volunteers will come together to help make the day run smoothly. A donated RV will serve as Mr. Greenwood’s dressing room and talent from all over Maine and New England will be performing. A full day of events will serve to bring people from all over the state to honor veterans and celebrate freedom. The day will end with the singing of “God Bless the USA,” the lighting of the perpetually lit tree and the grand finale fireworks display.
While the amphitheater is privately owned, the concert on Sunday, Oct. 13, will be a benefit for WAA.
Worcester hopes that this event will spur excitement for future events to be held in Columbia Falls. When asked how he pulled off such a big project, Worcester sheepishly grins and says, “A little Yankee ingenuity, good help, a passion for a cause and just plan reaching down and finding another gear!”
Information on the day’s event can be found at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org