The Star-Herald

Join in to help Maine mark its bicentennial

For any of us who have been around a while, we know just how fast time passes.  In 2020, the state of Maine will celebrate its bicentennial as a state.  That means there are only two years to start planning the celebrations.

In 1920, the primary celebration was held in Portland with smaller celebrations held around the state, primarily from June 28 to July 5.  (Presque Isle did have its own celebrations in 1920, although they were held in October.)  It goes without saying that a huge parade was held.  In addition, an official engraved invitation was printed along with a program of events.  Votes for women was a big topic during events that year.  A commemorative half-dollar was issued to mark the occasion, along with official pins.  

Other lasting benchmarks of the celebration included books on the history of Maine (Louis Clinton Hatch and Henry Dunnack) as well as one on how school children could participate.   

The state already has plans underway.  The governor has established a Bicentennial Commission, which will prepare a “comprehensive plan and program for adequate observance and celebration on a statewide basis”.  The commission (whose members will be appointed by the governor and State Legislature, Maine Community College system, and University of Maine system and others) is also tasked with coordinating the programs and activities of all public and private agencies and organizations in the state that are planning activities.  

The City of Presque Isle has already put its thinking cap on and started to come up with ideas for the celebration.  In addition to a parade, the city is considering having an official postmark in March, and thinking, in conjunction with SAD 1, of ways to involve school children.  Of course, the Presque Isle Historical Society will be heavily involved in the celebration, as well, by preparing an historic exhibit of items from the 1920 celebration, and will most likely use the 1920 celebration as the theme for its annual collectible calendar.

If you would like to be involved in the planning of events to celebrate Maine’s bicentennial here in Presque Isle, please contact me, Kim Smith, Grant Writer/Public Information Officer for the City, at (207) 760-2722 or by email at

Kimberly Smith is grant writer/public information officer for the city of Presque Isle. She can be reached at 760-2722 or via email at

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