For more information, search “Downtown Lewiston eARTh Day” on Facebook.
LEWISTON — What started as the first Downtown Lewiston Earth Day cleanup and art celebration is growing into a citywide event, organizer Sheri Withers said Monday.
Saturday’s cleanup and art celebration are expected to attract hundreds of volunteers donning gloves and event shirts to spruce up Lisbon Street, Simard-Payne Memorial Park, the Riverwalk, the Tree Street neighborhood and Sunnyside Park, Withers said.
Withers, who belongs to the Downtown Lewiston Art District and the L-A Chapter of the Union of Maine Visual Arts, said planning started in March. Along with Withers, other organizers are Grayling Cunningham, Melanie Therrien and Kate Cargile.
Art district members made plans to pick up trash and create art on more sidewalk crossings and fire hydrants. The organization is behind the popular Chestnut Street hot dog crossing in front of Simones’ Hot Dog Stand.
After plans were announced, followers of Lewiston Rocks’ Facebook page jumped in, offering to clean up Sunnyside Park and the Riverwalk by Great Falls.
During the last three weeks, Withers said she’s heard from more individuals and groups getting involved, including a Girl Scout troop, Roller Derby athletes and Craig Saddlemire’s Raise-Op Housing Cooperative. Grow L-A has volunteered to clean the grassy area between Main Street and Bates Mill No. 5.
Several Lewiston businesses, including Baxter Brewing Co. and Forage Market, are also helping. Healthy Androscoggin announced it will build edible plant boxes during the event.
Lewiston Public Works Department will take the trash volunteers collect.
“It’s just exploding to a citywide event,” Withers said. “This is about taking pride in our community, being proud of what we are. We do have a lot of beautiful stuff. We do have a connected community.”
Adrienne Nichols of Baxter Brewing said her company identifies with the event, that environmental sustainability “is a major component of our day-to-day lives here.” The brewery is a zero-waste facility, uses wind-powered electricity and works with a Portland company to minimize water waste, she said.
Protecting the environment “is something we take very seriously,” she said.
Heidi Sawyer, founder of Lewiston Rocks, got involved because people in the group “are all driven to help make different initiatives like this one successful,” she said.
Lewiston Rocks asked Lewiston Public Works Director David Jones which spots need cleaning. He recommended Sunnyside Park, which is off Winter Street and includes a trail that runs along the river and under the bridge to River Valley Apartments.
The event will also include music, art and games.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. there will be music by Buck Curan at the park by Mother India. There will be sidewalk chalk mural creations and children’s games. At 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Bates College students will host historic walking tours starting at Bear Bones Beer.
A public art and studio walking tour will begin at 12:15 p.m. at Bear Bones Beer, hosted by Stanley Hollenbeck. At 2 p.m. there will be tours of Baxter Brewery. A live band will perform at Baxter from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Before the cleanup gets underway, Withers will be at 178 Lisbon St. to register volunteers, hand out bags and gloves. She’ll also provide event shirts for a $5 donation. Anyone wearing the shirts will be given discounts at some area restaurants, she said.
The rain date is Sunday, April 23.
More hydrants like this one on Lisbon Street will be creatively painted in downtown Lewiston on Saturday, April 22, as part of an Earth Day cleanup and art celebration.