Chamber cancels LAUNCH! 2020

The Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Arundel Chamber announced Monday that LAUNCH! 2020 was canceled

“Given the state of uncertainty we’re all living in, and out of an abundance of caution, we felt we had to cancel LAUNCH! this year,” said Chamber Executive Director Laura Dolce, in a written statment. “As much as it makes us sad to miss this, our fifth year, we felt that keeping everyone safe was far more important. Going ahead with an event that draws hundreds of people just didn’t feel right for our community at this time.”

LAUNCH!, A Maritime Festival, was created by the Chamber in 2016 to celebrate the area’s seafaring heritage. Over the years, it has grown to five full days and encompasses numerous events, from the Castaway Cove for Kids to a pirate encampment to a Pirate Pub Crawl, Rock the Dock, Riverlights Boat Parade and, finally, the Blessing of the Fleet.

“While gathering together isn’t possible right now, it is our hope that the community find ways to help the local nonprofits that benefit from LAUNCH!,” Dolce wrote, “and find ways to honor and support the local fishing industry, both of which have been hurt during this pandemic.”

Dolce said LAUNCH! will return next year.

“Rest assured, we will be back in 2021, bigger and better than ever before!”

Oldies Dance ticket holders donate to Ronald McDonald House

The COVID-19 stay-at-home order prevented organizers from hosting the sold out 18th Rock n’ Roll Oldies Dance at the Eagles Hall in Biddeford this spring, but it couldn’t halt the generous spirit of the popular dance’s ticket holders.

More than 300 tickets were sold for $10 each in five days prior to the March 21 dance date, but according to Bruce Martin, Oldies Dance Group organizer, 271 ticket holders requested that their ticket costs be donated to the Ronald McDonald House.

“With all the people and businesses donating, the total amount raised and donated to Ronald McDonald House now stands at $70,835,” Martin said in a press release. “This spring’s dance netted $4,635 without us even holding the dance.”

Martin said although many participants were disappointed that the event was not held, their generosity was inspirational.

“I’ve never felt so close to people in my life,” Martin said. “It restores my faith in people’s warm heart and their concern for the Ronald McDonald House.”

Conducted twice each year in March and October, the dance has become the largest community fundraising effort for Ronald McDonald House of Portland, which provides comfort for the families of pediatric patients and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. It provides access to quality health care and enables family centered care ensuring families are fully supported and actively involved in their child’s care.

Martin said that the Oldies Dance Committee would like to thank the following businesses who donated to the 18th Rock n’ Roll Oldies Dance: Southern Maine Specialties, Inc.; Saco/Biddeford Savings Institution; Black Bear Promotions Inc.; Coastal Tech Heating; Superior Electric Inc.; Tractor Supply; Lowe’s; NAPA Shop Works; Beth Martin; Beachology Maine Gifts; Gorham Sand & Gravel; Bill Dodge; Get Fired Up; Old Orchard Beach Campground; Old Orchard Beach Edgewater Motel; Champagne Energy; Neil Weinstein; Peter Barricelli; and Joe Loughren.

“All of us at the Oldies Dance Committee would especially like to thank the wonderful 271 ticket holders with big hearts who generously donated their ticket costs to the Ronald McDonald House,” Martin said.

The 19th Rock n’ Roll Oldies Dance is scheduled to be held from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Eagles Hall in Biddeford. Tickets are $10. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 284-4692.