Monday was Maine’s birthday.
It was admitted to the United States on March 15, 1820, which makes Maine 201 years old.
Still, while it is now another year older, Maine hasn’t had a proper bicentennial, 200th birthday party. The marquee celebrations to mark the occasion, like a state parade, a tall ships event and a time capsule dedication, did not happen as planned in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My immediate reaction was, we’re not giving up on this,” said Maine state Sen. Bill Diamond, the chair of Maine’s Bicentennial Commission.
The group, made up of leaders both within and outside of state government, had thought “maybe could do it in the summer of 2020,” he said.
While that didn't come to pass, Mainers and visitors will get a chance to celebrate in the coming months.
With a few adjustments for the pandemic reality when they happen, the tall ships, the time capsule dedication and a state expo are expected to be held on dates from the spring through fall of 2021 in what is being dubbed a “200 Plus One in 2021” bicentennial celebration.
Asked which of the events would return, Diamond said he believes it will be “just about everything” and that the commission is “hoping to have our Maine state parade in Lewiston-Auburn, probably in late August.”
“People have been huddled and isolated,” said Diamond, adding, “this is going to be an opportunity to do all those things, have fun and take a breath and say, ‘We made it through that horrible year.’”
As a gesture informally kicking off Maine’s second round of bicentennial observances, Diamond climbed a number of stairs to the roof of the Maine statehouse on Monday to wave the state’s Bicentennial Flag.
While it was chilly and very windy, Diamond said the decision to fly the flag is important, “to demonstrate that we’re in this for keeps.”