MACHIAS – It doesn’t matter if you measure success by dollars and cents or smiles because by both accounts the recent Machias 250th Birthday Celebration was a major hit. Chairman Sharon Mack estimated that the week full of events impacted the local ecoomy by more than $200,000.
“We were hearing that every motel, inn and B&B was full from Lubec to Ellsworth,” she said. “Local restaurants were full for every meal and actually were running out of menu items.” Mack said that at the Saturday, June 15, parade, more than 600 people participated in the parade and another 4,000 viewed it. More than a dozen bands, 25 floats and a number of marching units from Maine and Canada participated. As the week progressed, record crowds appeared at each event.
“On Monday, we had 154 people show up for our community softball game and on Tuesday, 300 enjoyed a Night of Music with five bands and an acapella musical group,” Mack said. “Another 200 children and families came to Kids’ Day on the University of Maine at Machias Campus, and it was standing room only at Thursday’s Mustache, Beard and Cooking contests.” Friday night fireworks – a $10,000 extravaganza paid for through donations – brought hundreds of cars and viewers to Machias.
“The most exciting part of this past week,” Mack said, “is that some of the activities were so popular that individual groups are planning to continue them. The Machias Fire Department will be hosting more community softball games and the Downeast Coastal Conservancy is planning to host concerts in their Elephant’s Back natural ampitheater alongside the Middle River.” The Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce will also host Paint Machias Day next summer. “We had more than 12 artists participate in that event, bringing in another $1,000 to the local economy,” Mack said.
Mack said the goal of the 250th Birthday, which took 16 months to plan, was to bring the community together. “We not only were able to do that but we also brought a massive economic boost to the area.” Mack said more than 30 people worked on individual event teams to organize the celebration. “Nothing went wrong. It couldn’t have been a more perfect week for weather, fun and participation,” she said.
Mack said the cookbooks created for the 250th will continue to be on sale at Machias Hardware, Berry Vines and Machias Valley News Observer. T-shirts, totes and cookbooks will also be sold at the Machias Wild Blueberry Festival.
The top 5 individual float winners in the parade were:
1. Machiasport Historical Society, 86 points
2. David Whitney, peddler, 80 points
3. Margaretta Days, 74 points
4. Machias Savings Bank, 70 points
5. St. Croix Garden Club, 68 points
Machias Savings Bank has offered prizes of $1,00, $500 and $250 for the top three floats that participate in both the 250th parade and the upcoming Fourth of July parade.
There were 32 entries in the Beard and Mustache Contests. The winners were:
Longest/Bushiest – Doug Mugford
Most Original – Billy Albee
Most Pitiful – Mike Hinerman
Longest/bushiest – Bryan Hamner
Most Original – Steven Trask
Most Pitiful – Becky Lee
Overall Winner – George Molinski Jr.
Winners in the cooking contest were:
Desserts: 1. Mathy Terrill, apple cake; 2. Faye Mack, raspberry chocolate pie; 3. Marchia Bernhardt, date bars.
Appetizers: 1. Nichole Cote, spinach artichoke dip; 2. Virginia Brown, sausage wheels; 3. Kiley Bauman, cheese straws.
Entree: 1. Betsy French, nut encrusted haddock with dipping salsa
Baked beans: 1. Kate Haig, sarsparilla beans; 2. Billy Albee, traditional Saturday night beans.
Home Canning: 1. Charley Martin-Berry, pickled beets; 2. Linnie Pritchard, mustard relish; 3. Emily Guirl, dill pickles.