PITTSFIELD, Maine — For an event that was on the brink of not happening, the Central Maine Egg Festival turned out to be a resounding success, according to organizers.
Intermittent damp weather didn’t stop hundreds if not thousands of people from participating in five days of events ranging from the traditional parade through the downtown to a slate of activities for children to a blazing fireworks show to cap things off Saturday night.
“I think people were happy with the way things worked out,” said festival president Debra Billings. “As we talked to the nonprofit participants, they were all happy and said they were willing to come back again next year. That’s a good sign because their participation had dwindled over the past few years. They said they actually made a profit.”
The festival, now in its 37th year, employed a renewed focus this year of volunteerism in the community, which for Billings made the success of the booths and vendors even more important. Representatives from at least three nonprofit groups approached festival organizers about joining the celebration next year, said Billings.
To help the festival financially, a corporate sponsorship program was instituted this year that raised more than $20,000 and allowed organizers to lower the cost for crafters and nonprofit organizations. Billings said Monday that she didn’t yet know whether the festival had broken even, but said she was confident that it did better than last year.
James Cianchette, a member of the local Kiwanis group, said the egg festival is the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year, providing money for a range of scholarship programs and support of numerous other local institutions.
Cianchette said a slew of volunteers, including local Scouting troops and members of the Maine Central Institute and Nokomis Regional High School Key Clubs, helped keep the activities running and revenue flowing. Cianchette said the positive differences in the festival have him and others hopeful for an even more successful event next year.
“We heard a lot of people mentioning how different the festival was this year,” said Cianchette. “The live music throughout the festival was certainly well-received.”
Billings said the organizing committee already has attracted at least three new volunteers, who will begin planning next year’s event very soon.
“We did find some things that could have gone differently,” she said. “We’re all making lists to have ready for our next meeting so we can present an even better egg festival next year.”