The annual festival will feature ugly knees, a human chessboard, a Moxie mead-drinking contest – and a parade.

LISBON FALLS – Moxie from a bottle or a can: sure. Moxie-flavored ice cream, Jell-O and lollipops: why not?

But Moxie doughnuts, cakes … and baked beans?

The 20th annual Moxie Festival, otherwise known as a celebration of all things Moxie, is slated to begin Friday, July 11, and continue through Sunday afternoon.

Invented as a nerve tonic in 1876 and introduced as a soft drink in 1884, Moxie is the oldest carbonated beverage continuously on the market. The old-fashioned bitter tonic will be celebrated throughout the weekend with events and activities for all ages.

“Moxie is about the history, the mystique and the young and old sharing in the memories of the past,” said Frank Anicetti, founder of the Moxie Festival and owner of the only Moxie store in the world.

Anicetti, who likes to keep his age a mystery, prefers the low-calorie Diet Moxie for its extra bitterness. He drinks at least a half-gallon every day.

“I’ve always got a jug right there within hands-reach,” he said.

While he enjoys Moxie the most when it’s a little flat and served at room temperature, other Moxie enthusiasts prefer it hot. Some even like it mixed with milk or poured over a shot of vodka.

It doesn’t matter how Moxie fans enjoy their drink during the weekend, the important thing is that they celebrate.

“What is Moxie – but togetherness?” Anicetti said.

Moxie, which means pep or energy, will be spread through the streets of Lisbon Falls with the start of festivities Friday night.

A fish chowder dinner at the Masonic Hall from 5 to 6:30 p.m., along with a publication party for Fred Schwicker’s “Clam Diggah’s: A Long Island Memoir” at the Lisbon Falls Library from 7 to 8 p.m., are two of Friday’s scheduled events.

On Saturday, eating begins early with the Masonic Pancake Breakfast at 6:45 a.m. and continues into the afternoon with a pig and chicken roast from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Along with the usual festival favorites, lobster rolls, Jell-O jigglers, fruit cups, snow cones and homemade pretzels will be available at the food court in the Main Street parking lot.

Moxie parade

The Moxie Festival parade, which begins at the Industrial Park on Capital Avenue and ends at the intersection of Main and North streets, is scheduled to begin promptly at 9 a.m. Saturday. Cars, floats and music, including the Tallowood Music Ministry – a 60-member high school chorus from Houston – are expected to march past area businesses and spectators during the 90-minute parade.

Other events scheduled for this year’s themed Medieval Moxie Days include a Human Chess Board with Noble Knights Productions, Ugliest Knees in a Kilt Contest, tug-of-war and a trebuchet tomato-throwing contest.

The Moxie Mead-Drinking Contest, which will be held under the big tent, is a chance for Moxie lovers to gulp as much of the beverage as they can in five minutes.

But don’t count on seeing Anicetti there. He already knows how much Moxie some of the other guys can drink.

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