Searsmont Bicentennial Week August 2-9 Has Something for Everyone
After nearly two years of planning, Searsmont’s Bicentennial Week will feature more than a dozen public programs beginning with an historical walk on Saturday August 2, and ending with two public dinners, a dance, and free fireworks on Saturday August 9. “This is a once in a several-lifetimes occasion,” said Carol Robbins, chairperson of the Searsmont Bicentennial Committee. “We have planned something for everyone to enjoy, and welcome everyone – children, their parents, full-time residents, summer visitors, and neighbors – to share in the fun.” Everything during Bicentennial Week is free, except for food, meals, and souvenir items. On-street and off-street parking is also free in many places throughout the central village area.
The week’s programs begin 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 the collection of long-time Searsmont resident George Sprowl, and the fire department’s noontime chicken barbeque. Tuesday August 5 brings an afternoon open house and tour of the Robbins Lumber mill complex, and 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 Sarah Knight.
All this leads up to Saturday August 9, Searsmont Bicentennial Day. Rosey Gerry, wearing his historian hat, 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 Historic 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. The Masons also host a free and confidential Children’s Identification (CHIP) program from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Activities for children, including a free bounce house, are available starting at 1 p.m., witr 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 email@example.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 a real bang. Free fireworks will interrupt the after-dinner music, featuring the Belfast Bay Fiddlers, and the barn dance, featuring the famous Searsmont Street Band. After the fireworks, provided by Jenness Robbins and Jim Robbins, it’s back to more music and dancing.
“No project this big can be completed without a lot of helping hands,” Carol Robbins said. “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 very valuable. So 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.