Many fondly remember the nation’s bicentennial in 1976, and surely Maine’s bicentennial, to be known as “Maine200,” will be remembered for years, too. All sorts of events are already planned, and more are in the pipeline.

Last week, we started seeing the first hints of the big 2020 event when members of the Maine Bicentennial Commission, including commission Chairman Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, and Gov. Janet Mills, attended Bicentennial Kickoff Day events around the state.

The kickoff was held 200 years after Maine declared its intention to break away from Massachusetts and form its own state. Full statehood was reached on March 15, 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise, which allowed Maine to split from Massachusetts and enter the Union as a free state, while Missouri entered the Union as a slave state.

The commission, chartered by state law in 2017, is already steaming ahead in forming its vision of how best to mark the bicentennial. There’s a website,, explaining the vision and purpose of the bicentennial with a list of planned events. And there’s information about how local organizations can receive grants to set up their own events in coordination with the bicentennial.

Next spring and summer will see the bulk of celebrations, including “Statehood Weekend” March 14-15; a Bicentennial Parade in Lewiston May 16; a Summer Coast Festival July 16-19, featuring tall ships traveling to various ports, and a Grand Finale in October celebrating Maine’s diverse population and commercial innovation. A time capsule will be dedicated during this event, too.

And if last week’s kickoff is any indication, the entire event is going to be a meaningful success and reflect well on Maine and all its inhabitants.


Demonstrating their devotion and dedication, Mills and Diamond put in appearances at all four kickoff events July 30. The duo started the day at 8:30 a.m. in Presque Isle, helicoptered to Bangor, on to Portland and finished with an event in Augusta at 5 p.m. Both well-known and longtime public servants are known for their enthusiasm and passion, and they are bringing their love of all things Maine to their work on the commission.

The entire commission is really a reflection of the various aspects of our diverse state. There are about 20 people on the committee, including legislators, business people, state historians, school and University of Maine administrators, state tourism officials and museum curators.

Together these people know all about Maine and how to organize an event that will live up to the committee’s stated vision for Bicentennial festivities: “To explore Maine’s history from the many perspectives of its multiple past and current populations; to celebrate Maine’s present people, places, institutions and economy; and to envision the public and private actions that will enhance Maine’s future prosperity.”

We should applaud the committee’s good work so far on an event designed to highlight Maine’s contributions to the country. The bicentennial celebration is needed because not everyone knows Maine history, and the event is a perfect chance to remind residents of the state’s historical achievements, cultural delights, natural gifts and enterprising spirit.

It will be a great year for Mainers, and residents should take advantage of this once-in-200-years opportunity to delve deeply into the many facets of the Pine Tree State.

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