The anticipated Maine Department of Transportation’s Route 27 re-construction project through downtown Belgrade is moving along quickly, meaning this year’s summer visitors to the Lakes Region will see many improvements along Main Street, including a wider and safer route for vehicles and pedestrians.

Although some trees had to go, a group called Friends of Belgrade Lakes Village raised several thousand dollars for extras that will enhance the village’s historic character. The final project will feature handsome brick sidewalks, pedestrian lighting fixtures and several benches along the half-mile downtown.

Beyond the highway improvements, the downtown area will have an improved water control and filtration system, with seven new state-of-the-art filters to decrease the sediment that runs into the lakes. The construction project will stop for July and August, so downtown businesses and summer traffic can run smoothly.

A kayaker paddles along Mill Stream near the Route 27 bridge in Belgrade Lakes in 2012. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

Belgrade kicks off summer with the annual July 4th parade down Main Street. The day of activities is still in the planning stages, so visitors should check the town’s website or the Belgrade Lakes Region Business Group’s Facebook page.

The Belgrade Public Library will host their annual Book and Bake sale on July 4th. The event, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be at the Center for All Seasons and is one of the library’s most popular fundraisers. From 8 a.m. to 2.p.m on Saturday, June 8, the library will have a fundraiser yard sale at Day’s Real Estate on Route 27. The Friends of the Belgrade Public Library will have their last 5K road race, starting at 8 a.m. on July 20 at the Belgrade Central School. Registration starts at 7:15 a.m. At 11 a.m. on July 13, Mr. Harley and The Strollers will present a family music event.

The library also has scheduled several speakers through the summer. Events are free and open to the public:
• Monday, July 15, 6 p.m.: Maine Crime Writers Build a Mystery. Writers will construct a mystery with the audience.
• Wednesday, July 24, 6 p.m.: Joe Reisert, associate professor of government, Colby College presents
Summer Reflections on Recent Supreme Court Decisions.
• Wednesday, July 31, 6 p.m.: Genealogy Research Part 1 with BJ Jamieson, Maine State Library genealogy reference specialist.
• Wednesday, Aug. 7, 6 p.m.: Gerry Boyle, popular Maine author, will discuss his newest books.
• Wednesday, Aug. 14, 6 p.m.: Genealogy Research Part 2 with BJ Jamieson, Maine State Library genealogy reference specialist.

The Center for all Seasons also offers a full summer schedule of activities for children and adults. Camp Golden Pond is a day camp for grades K-6, held on the grounds of the Center on Great Pond. Summer days are filled with swimming, boating, games, crafts, field trips and other activities. Camp Loon is for Grades 6-9, with boating, swimming, archery, environmental education and wilderness skills. Young people ages 9 to 17 can learn how to sail during six weeks of classes, from July 10-Aug. 18. The program at the Center is offered by the SailMaine program and the Great Pond Yacht Club.

The Belgrade Fire Department will serve their annual baked bean supper at the Center on Saturday, Aug. 3. For more information or program registration, visit the Center’s Facebook page or their link at townofbelgrade.com.

The library will welcome families at the Center for two events. At 10 a.m., on June 25, the Chewonki Traveling Natural History Program will present “Tide Pools.” At 10 a.m., on July 16, Mad Science of Maine will present “3-2-1 Blast Off.”

The Belgrade Lakes Farmer’s Market on Sundays in the village offer shoppers fresh organic produce, Maine maple syrup, handcrafted jewelry and homemade ice cream.

A big draw for golfers is the scenic Belgrade Lakes Golf Club, which opened 20 years ago and has hosted tournaments such as the Maine Am.

Peter Wright plays in Maine Amateur Championship on July 10, 2018, at the Belgrade Golf Club. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

The Belgrade Historical Society offers visitors the chance to learn about the local history of the region and how the town has balanced a manufacturing and industrial legacy with the growth of the tourist industry. They will host three summer programs for the public at the Maine Lakes Resource Center on 137 Main St. All are on Thursdays and start at 7 p.m.
• June 20, Author Eric Hooglund will present Belgrade Lakes Village: From Mills to Tourist Destination.
• July 18, Local historian, David Leigh present: Recovering the Recent Past.
• Aug. 22, Scott Andrews, USM Senior College presents: Inventing Vacationland.

July 4th events in Belgrade:
9 a.m.-2 p.m.: Book Sale at the Center for All Seasons.
11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.: Union Church Strawberry Festival.
11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.: Village Inn Lunch in the Tavern.
12 noon: Boat Parade. Line-up at the mouth of the Mill Stream on Great Pond.
1-2 p.m.: Free Ice Cream Social at the Center For All Seasons.
4 p.m.: Grand Parade down Main Street.
5 p.m.: Frog Jumping Contest. Bring a frog to Main Street/Hulin Road.
9:15 p.m.: Fireworks over Long Pond (Rain Date July 5).

Other summer activities include art, book readings, golf, road races and environmental education.