‘Great food and beer’: Maine Tourism hosting annual meeting in Lewiston

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LEWISTON — For Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, it’s a “validation of our past efforts” that the Twin Cities will host the Maine Tourism Association’s annual meeting Friday.

The Agora Grand Event Center in Lewiston will host the association’s 97th annual meeting on May 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Local officials say it represents results from the work that’s been done to highlight Lewiston-Auburn as a tourist destination.

Levesque, since being elected last year, has established a committee focused on Auburn’s image within Maine and New England. He said Tuesday that this week’s tourism event “further encourages me that this is a path to success.”

Chris Fogg, chief executive officer of the Maine Tourism Association, said Lewiston-Auburn was chosen because it’s a growing tourism region.

“We’ve seen more interest out of that community in promoting tourism for the region, so we want to support that,” Fogg said.

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The gathering will see longtime Poland Spring Resort owner Cyndi Robbins inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame. Fogg said Robbins has accomplished a lot to bring tourism to the region.

Maine Tourism’s meeting will also feature special guests including the hit DIY Network series “Maine Cabin Masters,” Tori Barnes, senior vice president of government relations for the U.S. Travel Association, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree. Fish Bones American Grill of Lewiston will provide lunch.

Maine Tourism began in 1921 as the Maine Publicity Bureau. The association now has 1,500 members across the state. Fogg said the mission of the association is to work with members and the state Legislature to “make sure that our state’s No. 1 industry is protected and treated fairly and promoted” because of what the industry does for the Maine economy.

The annual meeting is considered to be a gathering of the “top tourism industry professionals” in Maine.

The night before, on Thursday, May 10, Maine Tourism will team up with the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to host a free social event at the Atrium in the Bates Mill Complex.

Fogg said the event will feature a number of local beers from Baxter Brewing. and Bear Bones Beer, with a free brew tour.

“I think there are lots of great reasons to visit (Lewiston-Auburn), whether it’s history and culture, attractions or great food and beer,” Fogg said. “The local beer scene here is terrific, and we’re excited to highlight that.”

The annual meeting takes place during National Travel and Tourism Week.

While the annual meeting hosted by the Maine Tourism Association is a welcome sight in the Twin Cities, more events are coming up that will bring new faces to Lewiston and Auburn from outside the Twin Cities:

 • Maine Innovation Expo, Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Museum L-A at Bates Mill. 

According to the event website, the expo — in its second year — “celebrates creativity, spirit, ingenuity and innovation in Maine. It brings local and statewide businesses together with talented students to showcase the wide range of innovative work and play across the state.” Click here to view a list of exhibitors.

 • Maine Democratic Convention, May 18-20, at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. 

The convention gives Democrats the opportunity to hear from party leaders and Democratic candidates and to participate in activist workshops. Only convention delegates and alternates speak on the floor and vote, but the event is open to the public.

• Great Falls Comic Con, Saturday, May 19, starting at 10 a.m. at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. 

The spring edition of the Comic Con pop culture event is kid-friendly, cosplay- and creator-focused. Click here  for tickets.

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