OLD ORCHARD BEACH — he Maine Heroes Fund’s annual POW/MIA recognition weekend kicks off Friday with a motorcycle procession from York to The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach.

The event to honor veterans continues Saturday with a ceremony and dedication of the state’s first Missing Man chair.

The weekend begins with the POW/MIA escort ride, which leaves at 3 p.m. from the York weigh station on the northbound side of the turnpike. Any motorcyclist who wishes to ride in the escort should be at the weigh station by 2 p.m.

The motorcycle group will escort the Schneider National “Ride of Pride” and Indiana Air Search and Rescue command vehicle. The Indiana Air Search and Rescue Huey 563 will fly over the escort as it makes its way from York to Old Orchard Beach.

Some traffic delays are expected as the escort leaves the turnpike in Biddeford to travel down Route 111 to Main Street in Saco around 3:30 p.m.

The escort is expected to pass through Saco on Route 1 by 4 p.m. and arrive at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach by about 4:15 p.m.

The Huey 563 is expected to land on the field at 4 p.m. Spectators are encouraged to line the route or greet the escort at The Ballpark.

On Saturday, gates to The Ballpark will open at 7 a.m. Gov. Paul LePage will participate in the service starting around 9 a.m. and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud will be the main speaker.

The Rolling Thunder Maine Chapter 1 will hold a ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday to dedicate a “Missing Man Chair” to symbolize the more than 92,000 American servicemen since World War I who fought overseas and are unaccounted for. It is believed to be the first of its kind in the state.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

ggraham@mainetoday.com