Tammy Knight of Peru and her grandson Nolan Blanchard won best 1970s costumes Saturday in the Peru Bicentennial Parade. The theme was the 1970s. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

PERU — Marking its incorporation Feb. 5, 1821, as the 240th town in Maine, Peru celebrated its 200th birthday Saturday with a block party and parade led by its oldest resident, Marlin Thurston, 99.

The Bicentennial Committee put the program together in six weeks. The theme was the 1970s.

“We had a good day,” committee member Tammi Lyons said. “I was very happy with the turnout for such a short time frame. And the community was so generous in their donations. We had enough in donations to cover expenses for the event.”

The celebration began with the downtown parade led by Thurston riding in one of the numerous classic cars. Walkers were also part of the procession and Tammy Knight and her grandson Nolan Blanchard were winners of the best 1970s costumes.

The only float carried members of the Dirigo Middle School band, who entertained with music.
Pulling and pushing an old hose cart were Peru Fire Department volunteers Jude Prue, Colton Carlow  and Travis Ryerson.

Fire Chief Bill Hussey said the cart originated at the old Stowell-MacGregor business and is stored at the Worthley Pond fire station.

Oct. 2 was chosen for the celebration because the town marked its 150th year of incorporation in 1971 and buried a time capsule then near a cemetery. It has since been covered by cement.

A replica it was opened Saturday by Lynda Hebert, Glen Tompkins, John Dolloff and Bob Dolloff, all of whom were present when the original was buried. Contents included a town report, toothpicks from Diamond National and a history of the mill, a poem by Mary Vaughn, pictures and coverage of the parade in a July 22, 1971, issue of the Rumford Falls Times, a Cub Scout patch, town organization reports.

Peru Fire Department volunteers Travis Ryerson, left, Jude Prue, center, and Colton Carlow roll an old hose cart Saturday during the town bicentennial parade. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

The plan had been to bury a new time capsule Saturday on the front lawn of the Town Office complex, but Lyons said the committee decided to wait a few weeks.

“We wanted to make sure that we had duplicates of everything that was going to go in it. And we wanted to put some pictures of the day in there,” she said.

Contents will include notes from people in the community, family histories, a bicentennial T-shirt, a Peru Fire Department patch, a 2021 quarter, an unknown donation from Dirigo Middle School, and an article about the bicentennial from the Rumford Falls Times.

“So we’re actually going to have quite a bit of good stuff in there,” Lyons said.

Along with the time capsule, Lyons said the town will plant a tree at the site. A granite bench will be placed there, paid with donations for the celebration.


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