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Maine 200

Celebrating Maine’s Bicentennial on working waterfront

Jun 06, 2021

Rockland — On Friday, July 2, Rockland will celebrate Maine's belated bicentennial with a party on the harbor designed to highlight the role played by marine trades and mariners in the story of the State.

All events are free of charge and suitable for all ages.

Events are a slimmed down version of the original festival planned in 2020, and will consist of the Rockland and Camden home-ported boats of the Maine Windjammer Association, sailing to Rockland that afternoon, then tying up on the city docks.

A recognition ceremony of the bicentennial, windjammers and 150th birthdays of the vessels Stephen Taber and the Lewis R. French, followed by the Blaine House Series concert featuring local singer-songwriter Bella Barnes, Schooner Fare and the Dave Mallett Band on the Fisherman's Memorial Stage from 7 to 9:30 p.m.; then fireworks in the harbor at 9:30 p.m.

Both the Maine Legislature and City of Rockland will also mark the event with proclamations and recognition of the marine trades' role in both Maine history and its future.

Concert attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and enjoy an evening of al fresco music, capped off with fireworks. There is no charge or ticketing for admission, but organizers will monitor numbers and encourage attendees to spread out for social distancing.

In terms of public health and safety, organizers are emphasizing continued importance of hand washing or sanitizing, social distancing and mask wearing.

In order to help windjammers comply with Coast Guard regulations and protect the passenger privacy, boats will not open for public tours, but can be enjoyed both on the bay and from Harbor Park.

Organizers will continue to monitor local and statewide data on COVID-19 rates: should adjustments or changes become necessary there will be updates on the Rockland Main Street Inc. website, on social media and in the local press. Maintaining health and safety are paramount and organizers have put a lot of thought and work into creating a safe event for the community.

Speaking for the ad-hoc organizing group, committee member Dan Bookham stated, "Although we hoped to mark Maine's 200th birthday on the Rockland waterfront last summer, the celebrations will be all the sweeter after the trials and tribulations of the past year. We'll be honoring our state, the windjammers as the personification of our marine heritage, and the fact that both the Lewis R. French and Stephen Taber in their 150th years can lay claim to be the oldest working merchant ships in the U.S.

"Equally as important, we can also come together to recognize the strength and resilience that continues to be shown by our part of the Midcoast in the face of the pandemic with a harbor full of beautiful ships and incredible music with a coda provided by a beautiful fusillade of fireworks!"

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