January 18, 2018
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It takes a special occasion to bring the Searsmont Street Band back together. Searsmont’s Bicentennial Week, which starts this Saturday August 2, is that kind of special occasion. The Band will play at a big barn dance at the Searsmont Community Center on the evening of Saturday August 9 after a pig roast and lobster feed, and before and after free fireworks.

According to Carol Robbins, chair of the Searsmont Bicentennial Committee, “This is a once in a lifetime week in a once in a lifetime year. There is something for everyone to enjoy, and everyone – children, their parents, full-time residents, summer visitors, and neighbors – is welcome to share in the fun.” Everything during Bicentennial Week is free, except for food, meals, and souvenir items. Committee member Karen Withee adds, “The Belfast Bay Fiddlers will be entertaining during and after our August 9 pig roast and lobster feed dinners, and you don’t want to miss them. With music, food, and fireworks, it should be a wonderful way to end the week’s activities.”

Searsmont Bicentennial Week begins this Saturday August 2 at 9 a.m. with a two-and-a-half mile guided walk along the Georges River, an all-day antique car display featuring long-time Searsmont resident George Sprowl’s auto collection, and the fire department’s chicken barbeque at noon. Tuesday August 5 features an afternoon open house and tour of the Robbins Lumber mill complex. On Thursday evening August 8, Rosey Gerry presents an evening of music at the Ames School starting at 7 p.m.

All week long, Searsmont artist Stephen Porter’s Bicentennial Bench and historical displays are free to the public at the town office, and bicentennial items (including baseball caps and t-shirts) are on sale at the office, the town library, and Fraternity Village Store. The store also features a pamphlet on the store’s long history, and a display of local students’ art illustrating the famous 1800’s diary of Searsmont’s Josephine Knight.

Saturday August 9 is Searsmont Bicentennial Day, with more than 12 hours of activities ending with free fireworks. Rosey Gerry will lead a walk on historic Muzzy Ridge at 8:30 a.m., and then activities move to the Community Center on Route 131 south of the town center. The Historical Society is open to the public all day. First Selectman Bruce Brierley leads a tour of the Oak Grove Cemetery at 11 a.m, and the Masonic Quantabacook Lodge hot dog cart opens at the same time, staying open until 7 in the evening.
The Masons host a free and confidential Children’s Identification (CHIP) program from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Community Center. Activities for children, including a free bounce house, are available there starting at 1 p.m., with balloon animals free for the asking beginning at 5 in the afternoon.

Five in the afternoon of Bicentennial Day is also when the musical entertainment begins, the Searsmont Historical Society’s pig roast servers get to work, and the Searsmont Methodist Church’s lobster feed starts. “Food prices are affordable,” said Carol Robbins, “and we’re planning to have food to fit everyone’s taste.” Robbins and event organizers highly recommend dinner reservations, since tickets at the door will be limited. Dinner reservations may be made online at searsmontcelebration@gmail.com, or by calling Nancy at 930-3664 or Karen at 342-3427.

For most towns, and most anniversaries, that would be enough. But Searsmont will end its Bicentennial Day with sweet music and a real bang. The Belfast Bay Fiddlers will start playing while dinner is being served, and will give way to the Searsmont Street Band, whose music will pause for free fireworks before the free barn dance continues. “The Bicentennial Committee wants to thank Jenness and Jim Robbins for sponsoring the fireworks,” said Carol Robbins. “Since no project this big can be completed without a lot of helping hands,” she continued, “lots of thanks go to the 16 members of the Bicentennial Committee, nearly 20 others who helped the Committee, and all of the Bicentennial Week volunteers. The Town of Searsmont’s selectmen and town office staff have done so much to make this week happen, and the Historical Society’s leadership and members have been so valuable. Bicentennial Week is finally here, and Searsmont invites one and all to celebrate with the town, enjoy good food and good company, marvel at the fireworks, and have fun.”

For more information on the Searsmont Bicentennial and Bicentennial Week, go to the Community/Bicentennial page at www.searsmont.com, or call the Town Office at 342-5411.