Julia Bichrest, then 7, of Lisbon Falls wears a Moxie hat during the 2018 Moxie Festival Parade in Lisbon Falls. Sun Journal file photo

LISBON — There are two things you can always count on when it comes to Moxie: The taste will always be sharp and distinct, and you either love or hate it.

And the festival that celebrates the Moxie mystique will always be just crammed full of things to do.

This year, it’s hard to know where to begin describing the attractions and schedule of events for this coming weekend. How about a giant hamster wheel that uses the power of human legs to make a snow cone?

“I think that’s supposed to be for kids,” said Julie-Ann Baumer, coordinator of this year’s Moxie Festival. “But I definitely want to try it.”

Or how about the King himself, coming in the form of famed Elvis impersonator Sylvain Leduc, who will perform over the festival weekend?

“He’s the Elvis from the era of the jumpsuit,” said Baumer, described as “the ultimate Moxie cheerleader.”

And speaking of cheerleaders, the festival will feature those, as well. In particular, members of the Lisbon High School championship cheerleader squad will make an appearance along with members of the school baseball team and the drama club.

There will be an art show and a chalk walk, a 5-kilometer race and, of course, a parade.

Not convinced that this will be the greatest Moxie Festival ever? Maybe Claudia Williams, daughter of baseball legend Ted Williams, will help with that.

“She’s coming,” Baumer said. “She wanted to experience the Moxie hometown vibe.”

Ted Williams, of course, was a fan of Moxie and endorsed the drink in a variety of ways.

There will be a car show, a cornhole tournament, a whoopie pie-eating contest and a movie night. There will be fireworks, Mitch Thomas and his daughter will sing the national anthem and a musical titled “To Moxie with Love,” written by vocal artist and teacher Cassi Griesbach, will premiere at the MTM Center.

There will be bands, including Latch, Crown Vic, Twice Shy and Skosh, and an amazing variety of food: the new ice cream company Twist is expected to be on hand, along with the My Waffle food truck, for starters.

It all starts Friday when vendors set up to offer food and Moxie memorabilia — this is where Moxie devotees from all over the world will fill their bellies and wrap themselves in Moxie garb to prepare for the coming events.

“Moxie,” said Lisbon Parks and Recreation Director Mark Stevens, “is Lisbon’s attitude. It’s always been more than an awesome soft drink here. The festival is our opportunity to express ourselves and show the world how we work, live and play.”

Friday will also see the Lisbon Falls Fire Co. boot drive, in which firefighters will stand along Route 196 shaking boots instead of tin cups to raise money for their operations.

The annual recipe contest will also get underway, with Moxie lovers adding their beloved drink to a variety of dishes.

“Moxie is ‘wicked good stuff’ and we think it is the perfect cooking ingredient,” according to the festival website.

The recipe contest goes down at 4 p.m. in the Lisbon High School cafeteria, with judging scheduled for 5 p.m.

With all that going on, what could possibly go wrong?

“I’m a little nervous about the weather,” Baumer said. “But there’s not much I can do about that.”

The festival, now in its 37th year, began in 1982 when author Frank Potter held a signing for his book “The Moxie Mystique” at Frank Anicetti’s store on Route 196. The event was so successful, and the interest in all things Moxie so persevering, they did it all again in 1983.

In 1984, local residents seized the momentum and partnered with the Lewiston-Auburn Chamber of Commerce. The festival grew from an esoteric little gathering into a monster festival that draws thousands each year from all over the country.

Anicetti, known by just about everyone as “Mr. Moxie,” died in 2017. His iconic Kennebec Fruit Company store has since been sold and is no longer the epicenter of the festival.

This year, the festival administration will fall under the Parks and Recreation Department instead of the Economic and Community Development department, as in the past.

“I think that’s going to change the energy of the festival a little bit,” Baumer said.

This year’s theme is Moxie Goes Artsy, so expect to see a little more of the high-brow, although the festival will still be humble enough — a chugging contest and a chicken-chucking (Stevens is a two-time chicken-chugging champion, you know) will see to that.

“Three days of wicked cool Moxie events,” is how the organizers describe it. For more information and a schedule of events, visit moxiefestival.com.