Thousands of people watch the Moxie Festival parade in Lisbon Falls village in 2023. Organizers estimated 40,000 attended. On Thursday, organizers revealed plans for this year’s event which has the theme Mad about Moxie. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LISBON — The Moxie Festival will turn Lisbon orange again for its 40th birthday.

Organizers announced Thursday the festival will run July 12-14 with the theme Mad About Moxie, which is a take on Coca-Cola’s marketing slogans from back in the day.

The festival began at the Kennebec Fruit Co. in 1982. Two years were lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And 2024 isn’t only the anniversary of the Moxie Festival, it’s the 140th anniversary of the invention of soda back in 1884, according to Kate Madore, assistant director of Lisbon Parks and Recreation.

“This is remarkable for both our event, which several times almost didn’t continue, and the soda itself, which has faced production shortages and scares,” Madore said.

Last year, 40,000 orange-clad people descended on Lisbon for the festival.


“After record-breaking crowds last year, festivalgoers can expect an even larger display of Moxie spirit in the form of three full days of summer festival celebration,” Madore said. “Each day will feature free-to-the public concerts from incredible musicians — full lineup to be announced in May — dozens of vendors, crafters and food trucks, a full midway, full-length fireworks display, the largest parade in the state of Maine, Moxie 5K, Moxie chugging contest, Moxie whoopie pie eating contest, Moxie recipe contest, dance exhibitions, Moxie bass derby, Moxie car show and more added daily.”

Madore was not at liberty to say, but hinted that some “big names in music” are headed to this year’s festival.

“The music portion has grown into its own mini-music festival over the last few years,” Madore said, “with at least two major shows each day of the festival – all free to the public.”

After two gloomy years with no festival during the pandemic, the festival itself seems more popular than ever. The same can be said for Moxie itself, that soda with such a distinct flavor.

“Moxie has had a resurgence as a spirit over the last few years,” Madore said. “Movies, robotics, even roller skates have all emerged branded with our distinctive style, as more people are drawn to the spirit and endurance that is the hallmark of our community as well as our favorite soda.”

And as well as Moxie is beloved, so is the food offered at the festival.


“We had over 65 food trucks and vendors last year serving thousands and thousands of meals and unique products and services from around the state, Madore said. “It was impossible to visit them all but I’m certainly going to try again this year.”

And then there are the always popular competitive food contests, which continue to grow in popularity.

“We already have people reaching out to reserve a spot to compete in the Moxie chugging and whoopie pie eating contests,” Madore said.

The history of the Moxie Festival is a colorful one. It began with an equally colorful character named Frank Anicetti, who over the years would become a local icon.

Anicetti’s grandfather opened the Kennebec Fruit Co. on Main Street and Route 196 in downtown Lisbon Falls in 1914 to sell fruits and vegetables and in 1919 began selling his own special-recipe ice cream. Over the years, the Anicetti family collected Moxie memorabilia.

By the time Frank took over the store in the 1970s, it was the place to drink Moxie, purchase Moxie memorabilia, sample Moxie ice cream and spend an hour or two talking with Anicetti about his private Moxie collection.

When author Frank Potter from Newport News, Virginia, was researching his book, “Moxie Mystique” in the late 1970s, he naturally turned to Anicetti for facts, stories and legends.

After the book was published, Anicetti invited Potter to Lisbon Falls the second weekend in July to sign autographs at the store. “I invited 13 people by postcard, planned for 50, and was surprised when 500 people showed up,” Anicetti said in 2014, near the end of his long career.

For more information about this year’s event, visit the festival’s website at or call the Lisbon Parks & Recreation office at 353-2289.

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