Brunswick native Tim Long wears his Moxie T-shirt at the Coliseum in Rome, above, and in the Sahara, below.
By Ray Routhier
This time of year in Lisbon Falls, Moxie is everywhere.
It's in cans and bottles, of course. But the quirky soft drink is also on people's T-shirts, in people's thoughts and maybe even in people's prayers.
Take, for example, the sign one can see this week at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church on Route 196: "Jesus is Our Savior; Moxie is Our Flavor."
Seems everyone in this old mill town between Brunswick and Lewiston has Moxie running deep, deep within them.
The question is, why? In many parts of the country, people have probably never heard of the soft drink invented by a Mainer in the 1870s. And lots of folks tasting it for the first time think its flavor has hints of both Dr Pepper and prune juice.
So why have volunteers in Lisbon Falls been putting together a massive Moxie Festival each summer for 30 years?
"It's the state soft drink, and for people in Maine -- and people who've visited Maine -- Moxie brings back a lot of memories," said Deb Wagner, publicity chair for this year's Moxie Festival. "Moxie evokes memories of Maine and the state's quirky character, and that's what we celebrate."
So when the three-day festival takes over the town Friday through Sunday, it will be a celebration of Maine's quirky character, featuring a lot of quirky Maine characters.
There will be lots of folks competing in the Moxie Chug'n Challenge, for instance. Seeing people drink as much Moxie as they can as fast as they can is not to be missed.
Then there's the big two-hour Moxie Festival Parade on Saturday, where all manner of Moxie-themed floats and people in Moxie-focused costumes march and prance.
There will be historical displays, food, dance performances, fireworks, book signings, magic shows, a Moxie recipe contest, a fireman's muster and a concert by The Mallett Brothers country-rock band.
The Saturday-night concert is a new event added for the 30th anniversary of the festival. Also new is a car show running much of the day on Sunday.
What is old is Moxie itself, having been created in the 1870s by Dr. Augustin Thompson, a native of Union (although he is said to have invented Moxie after moving to Massachusetts).
The soft drink was very popular early in the 20th century, and it has stayed popular in Maine. And it does indeed carry the designation of "official state soft drink."
The festival has become a state tradition too, something the folks in Lisbon Falls cherish.
"Summer in Maine, with lobsters and whoopie pies and Moxie -- what could be better than that?" said Wagner. "Around here right now, it's all Moxie all the time."
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:
“Moxie evokes memories of Maine and the state’s quirky character, and that’s what we celebrate,” says Deb Wagner, publicity chair of this year’s festival.