The lobster-inspired monster truck known as “Crushstation” will be part of the Lewiston Street Fest on Saturday, Aug. 21, following the Maine Bicentennial parade. Submitted photo

LEWISTON — When local officials were told, on the cusp of June, that Maine’s Bicentennial Parade was back on, it became a scramble.

The city and its downtown business association wanted to take advantage of the potential for thousands of people to be in the city for the statewide celebration on Saturday, Aug. 21, and putting together a local event complementing the parade is no easy feat.

However, volunteers from the Downtown Lewiston Association, with help from city staff, have organized a street festival to kick off directly after the parade. Downtown Lisbon Street, between Ash and Main streets, will be closed, and Dufresne Plaza will be the center of the action.

According to Michael Dostie, board chairman of the Downtown Lewiston Association, the fun will start at noon, immediately following the end of the parade. Parents, be on the lookout for some large trucks for the kids to marvel at, including a monster truck shaped like a lobster.

Dostie said the hope was to make the Bicentennial Street Fest a family-friendly event, featuring face painting, balloon artists, music, caricature artists, and more.

He said they wanted to create an interactive experience for children, which is highlighted by a “touch a truck” feature, including a Lewiston Fire Department ladder truck, the Crushstation monster truck and several Public Works Department vehicles. Geiger Brothers donated 500 bubble wands for the event.

Dostie said having a lobster-themed monster truck on site the day of Maine’s bicentennial celebration “seemed way too perfect.”

He said the city was slightly “caught off guard” when the announcement came down that the parade had been rescheduled, and that he knew pulling together a local event would be tough. Most entertainers and other vendors are fully booked for the summer by June, he said.

But, for Lewiston, the opportunity seemed too big to pass up.

Dostie said despite some questions over whether they could pull together a “high-quality event,” there was an overall thought that they needed to try, recognizing there’s a benefit to showcasing Lewiston. The City Council approved $10,000 for the local event.

“The parade by itself is a massive undertaking,” Dostie said. “But then the opportunity is back, and you could have tens of thousands of people visiting. It’s one that Lewiston hasn’t seen in many years and might not again for many years. We believe we have tremendous assets here, and we’re still fighting old stigmas. We need to take opportunities to show people that the city of Lewiston is far more than old stigmas.”

Mayor Mark Cayer said he saw it as an opportunity to show the rest of Maine the growth and revitalization of the downtown, despite the pandemic.

“After a long and difficult year for local businesses and so much new growth in business and the arts, we felt we needed to get visitors to take the time and see our community and experience our restaurants and downtown businesses,” he said.

The parade route will go from New Auburn into downtown Auburn, across Longley Memorial Bridge and onto Main Street in Lewiston. Dostie said the parade is expected to be over between noon and 1 p.m., at which time Lisbon Street will be ready for the afterparty.

According to a city announcement, parking for both events will be available in nearby parking garages or on-street where available outside the closed block of Lisbon Street.

“We look forward to welcoming residents and guests alike to our vibrant community in hopes that all get to know Lewiston better,” the announcement states.


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