By Carla Charter
AUGUSTA, ME. – Maine will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of their statehood in 2020. Maine became a state in 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise. “We actually became a state before Missouri which became a state in 1821,” said Bradley Sawyer, Business Manager of Maine 2020.orgBefore Maine became a state, he continued, Maine was under the auspices of Massachusetts.
The Maine Bicentennial Commission had a kick off Bicentennial event in July in Presque Isle, Bangor, Portland and Augusta. As part of this kick off each town planted a Tricentennial Pine Grove of at least three white pines which the communities pledged to care for over the next 100 years. “We are the Pine Tree State. The trees are incredibly important to the state identity and an icon that symbolizes Maine,” Sawyer said.
Statehood weekend will be held on March 14th and 15th, 2020. Community dinners will be held across the state on March 14th to commemorate the bicentennial. Those attending community dinners are asked to bring non-perishable goods with them to be donated to their local food pantries. Local historical societies, museums and libraries will also be on hand with displays of historical significance to each community.
On March 15th, a Bicentennial celebration will be held in Augusta with a formal ceremony attended by state and federal officials as well as the Bicentennial Commission. On May 16th there will be a State of Maine Bicentennial Parade taking place in Auburn and Lewiston. Sawyer continued, “In the summer we hope to have a large tall ship event off of the coast of Maine, with stops at a number of ports.”
More information on the Maine Bicentennial can be found at https://www.maine200.org/. Along with a listing of state and local bicentennial events, the site also has video clips created by the Maine State Archives highlighting people and events who were historically significant to the state.