Lewiston Mayor Mark Cayer and Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque agreed Monday that postponing the Maine bicentennial celebration until next year, including the state parade in Lewiston-Auburn, was a prudent decision in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to uncertainty and safety concerns surrounding public gatherings during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Maine Bicentennial Commission announced Monday it was postponing its many events celebrating Maine’s 200th anniversary until 2021.

“We remain very grateful for the continued support of our sponsors and partners as we all navigate the uncertainties of this time,” said state Sen. Bill Diamond, chairman of the Maine Bicentennial Commission, in a statement.

“While we are disappointed that we are unable to commemorate Maine’s bicentennial this year as planned, we are also excited about coming together in 2021 to celebrate not only 201 years of statehood, but our renewed sense of community and perseverance as we emerge from this trial.”

Cayer said he is looking forward to next year.

“I am excited that it has been rescheduled,” he said. “I  think with probably everything that is going on in the community over the past several months, I think probably it is best to postpone that until next year so that our energies and effort can really be devoted to having an incredible celebration.

“We had some exciting things planned for our downtown on the day of the bicentennial parade. Postponing it another a year will just give us more time to give us a better response,” Cayer said.

Levesque said he already has his eye on next year to celebrate Maine’s statehood.

“I am actually looking forward to having a huge celebration in 2021 starting with our New Year’s Auburn celebration, and obviously we can go right into the bicentennial parade in May,” he said. “I think it is going to be great to put 2020 behind us and have something to look forward to, kind of celebrate the end of 2020, celebrate Maine’s 200th, but really ushering in our next 200th at the same time.”

All Maine Bicentennial Commission signature events and programs originally scheduled for the bicentennial year of 2020 are now postponed to 2021. Tentative dates, pending any pandemic restrictions in place at that time, are below:

  • Maine Statehood Day Ceremony: Sunday, March 14, 2021, Augusta
  • State of Maine Bicentennial Parade presented by Poland Spring: Saturday, May 15, 2021, cities of Auburn and Lewiston
  • Sailing ships events: summer 2021 (various dates), ports along the Maine coast
  • Maine200 Innovation Expo presented by Central Maine Power: Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, Portland
  • Maine200 Time Capsule sealing ceremony, fall 2021, location to be announced

The commission is reviewing applications for the final round of the Maine Bicentennial Community Grant Program and will soon announce the recipients. The commission has awarded a total of $574,545 in grants through this program so far, allowing communities and organizations across the state to plan events and programs that recognize Maine’s bicentennial. The commission extended the period for grant recipients to realize its plans through 2021, as part of the postponed commemoration.

For more information, go to www.Maine200.org.

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