GILEAD – Gilead will celebrate its 200th year as an organized town from the settlement that dates back to 1772 on Saturday, June 26.

Since last July the Gilead Bicentennial Committee has been meeting monthly to plan the 2004 Gilead Bicentennial Celebration, a daylong event, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., centered around the Town Hall, which will be open from noon to 5 p.m.

Memorabilia from Gilead’s past will be on display, including an extensive display of photos from the collections of local people. Some of the photos were used in two books recently published by the Bicentennial Committee. The first, “The Smile of Providence: A History of Gilead, Maine,” was written by Howard Reiche and Hugh Chapman. With more pictures than could be fit into the first book, Reiche and Chapman decided to do a picture book as well. Both are available from the Bicentennial Committee and will be for sale in the Town Hall.

Vendors selling food and craft items will be set up along Depot Street. From noon to 5 p.m. there will music played by local musicians at the corner of Bridge and Depot streets. From 1 to 3 p.m. games for the children will take place behind the Town Hall.

Train rides will be offered to Gilead residents from Gilead to West Bethel and back, thanks to a caboose provided by Safe Handling Inc. of Auburn and a locomotive and train crew from the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad. Rides will leave Gilead at 9:30 and 11 a.m., 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m. Space is limited, so Gilead residents will receive priority and advance reservations will be required. Riders will be required to sign a release form prior to boarding. Reservations may be made by calling Gale Tout at 836-2900.

A parade, starting at 10 a.m. by the Old Schoolhouse on Route 2, will travel down Route 2 to Bridge Street. There will be a section for children to either ride their bikes or walk. The Shine Funsters will ride mini-cars and area fire departments will participate.

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