Ellsworth 250 in the News
December 27, 2012
ELLSWORTH — Ever heard of a sestercentennial? If not, then how about a semiquincentennial, or perhaps a bicenquinquagenary?
For those not up on their Latin language skills, all three terms mean the same thing — they are used to denote a 250th birthday or anniversary.
While not many communities can claim to have been around for a quarter of a millennium, Ellsworth will do just that in 2013.
Historical accounts generally state that what is now known as Ellsworth was settled in the summer of 1763, although local historians have described that as less of a precise date and more of an approximation of when the Union River area was settled.
Ellsworth was incorporated as a town in 1800 and as a city in 1869.
The 1763 date has become part of the city's historical timeline, though. A 200th anniversary celebration was held in 1963.
For the past nine months, a group of business and community leaders has been meeting and making plans to ensure the 2013 milestone is observed with a mix of ceremony and celebration.
The weeklong celebration will officially kick off Saturday, July 20. Though events are still being added, some activities have already been scheduled.
Opening remarks (possibly at City Hall) and a family fun day sponsored by the Ellsworth Lions and Lioness clubs are among the activities slated for July 20.
Many of the activities taking place throughout the week — such as a nondenominational church service on July 21 — will take place underneath a massive tent located at Knowlton Park.
Monday, July 22, and Tuesday, July 23, are open days at this point, though it's likely the Ellsworth Garden Club will hold an event one of those days.
The garden club is planning a "Biggest Butt" contest, which will recognize the biggest (and perhaps oldest, as a historical tie-in) tree trunk or stump in the city.
July 24 will be YMCA Day, with free Zumba classes and workouts. Organizers also hope to offer a downtown road race, with a field of 250 runners.
Another special event planned for that day is a "50 for 250" motorcycle ride. Bikers will meet at Friend & Friend, ride for 50 miles and end up back at Knowlton Park for a barbecue.
Thursday, July 25, will see a business after hours event sponsored by the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce and WABI-TV.
The Ellsworth Downtown Business Association is organizing events for July 26 including an art festival and sidewalk sales.
The Ellsworth United Methodist Church is planning an ice cream social for the afternoon of July 26.
The final day of the weeklong celebration will be Saturday, July 27, which will feature the Rotary Club of Ellsworth's annual pancake breakfast that morning.
Musical events at The Grand are being eyed for Saturday afternoon, and a fireworks show is slated for that night.
Saturday will also feature the judging of beards for a beard contest sponsored by Hairbenders and Sargent Real Estate.
Regularly scheduled summer events — train rides on the Downeast Scenic Railroad, tours of historic buildings and musical concerts, among others — will be included on the 250th anniversary festivities schedule.
No matter what the final schedule for the 250th anniversary looks like, it will be hard to compete with the 200th anniversary celebration held in 1963.
That weeklong event featured at least five fireworks displays and three parades (one of them an "Oldtime Torchlight Parade" held during a total eclipse of the sun).
The highlight of the 1963 celebration was "Spars to Space," a "grand historical spectacle" that re-enacted Ellsworth's history "from Indian arrows to rockets in the space age," according to a program from the event.
The production featured a cast of hundreds (one side of the program said 300 people, while the other side said 800) and "18 thrilling scenes," and was held at the high school athletic field.
Organizers are interested in hearing from anyone with clothing, souvenirs or other memorabilia (such as medallions or wooden nickels) from the 1963 event. Contact Beal for more information.