Members of the Droggitis family, left, and the Shevenell family, right, gather on the steps of Biddeford City Hall in 2020 following ceremonies inducting their family members to the Biddeford Hall of Fame, an annual event of the Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center. Nominees for 2021 will be accepted through May 6. Courtesy Photo/Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center.

BIDDEFORD — The Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center wants to again recognize and celebrate the citizens of Biddeford or non-residents who have contributed to the history, heritage and culture of the city or the world at large in a significant way, and so is looking for nominations for the 2021 annual Biddeford Hall of Fame.

“We are very excited to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of those connected with the community,” said BCHC president Diane Cyr. “It’s important to remember where we came from and how far we can go. It’s great to be able to share some of the stories, the people and events that make Biddeford what it is today — a better place to live and work — with the community and relatives of those being honored. BCHC is proud to host this event and hopes to make this a special celebration for everyone involved.”

Deadline for nominations is May 6, and should be sent in on the official forms available on the BCHC website, although any application will be considered. Nomination forms will also be available at the Biddeford Saco Chamber of Commerce, McArthur Library, Biddeford City Hall and at the Heart of Biddeford. Cyr said nominations that were submitted last year, but not selected, will also be considered along with this year’s nominations. Voting, which is conducted by the Hall of Fame Committee, composed of members of the BCHC and the Biddeford Historical Society, the mayor, and members of the public, will take into consideration the significance of a nominee’s ethnic background. People may nominate themselves.

According to Denis Litalien, chair of the Hall of Fame Committee, the last three years’ selection processes were difficult.

“With 400-plus years of history, this city has produced many excellent nominees,” said Litalien. “More than 50 people were nominated, and 18 have, thus far, been recognized as a result of their work ethic, talents, perseverance and accomplishments.”

The 18 inductees, he said, are featured prominently in a display at the Biddeford City Hall Council Chambers, which is open to the public for viewing during business hours. They were also featured on banners hung from the streetlights on Main Street in Biddeford.

Honorees will be inducted at a ceremony tentatively set for Saturday, June 26, at noon. While the induction event has traditionally been held at the La Kermesse Festival, initiated by Biddeford Hall of Famer Joe Plamondon to celebrate Biddeford’s ethnic histories, the ceremony this year may be moved due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At last year’s event, Mayor Alan Casavant said the Hall of Fame awards is a perfect way to put a spotlight on people who have made contributions to the community.

“It could be the talented workers who came here from Turkey or Albania and used their ingenuity to create cloth known all over the world for its quality,” said Casavant. “It could be the Native Americans who were here in the beginning, and helped so many Europeans flourish. It could be the women who were the matriarchs of their families and helped inspire a new generation in Biddeford.”

Immediately following the induction ceremony, there will be a reception for family and friends of inductees and others. Representatives of BCHC will be present for those interested in learning more about the organization and its other programs serving the community and will answer any questions about getting involved.

To nominate someone for the Biddeford Hall of Fame, organizers ask that folks submit no more than two pages of text along with the nomination form to: BCHC, c/o Diane Cyr, PO Box 896, Biddeford, ME 04005-0896 or email documents to:  [email protected]. Documents may also be submitted on the website at www.BiddefordCulturalandHeritageCenter.org or submitted to any BCHC Board member or HOF Committee Member. For more information contact Cyr at 207-283-3993.