LEWISTON —The banks of the Androscoggin River teemed with excitement Saturday during the regatta that kicked off the second and final day of RiverFest 2022 at Simard-Payne Memorial Park.

People were scattered on the wide lawn under a bright sun that slid behind clouds later in the day. Rowing shells were carried in groups and rested on stands as rowers embarked on their races.

“I did all right for my fourth or fifth time on the water,” said Dustin Rogers, 17, of Lewiston. A novice who recently got into rowing, Rogers entered this year’s race almost on a whim after the regatta’s organizer and family friend Amy Smith invited him to join her boat.

“Last year she was joking with me and said, ‘You should get in my boat’ and I was like, ‘OK,’ and then we saw her maybe a month and a half ago and she’s like, ‘Why aren’t you guys rowing?’ So we joined,” Rogers said.

“Anybody who was brave enough and just learned this spring was willing to get into a boat today; it was awesome,” said Amy Smith as she carried her rowing shell with her team after the race. The LA Metro Chamber of Commerce reached out to Smith, the founder of Healthy Homeworks and who is involved with numerous nonprofits in Lewiston, to find a way to rally the city around the Androscoggin River.

“I know a lot about rowing, so, it seemed like a good place to row; so I decided to give it a try last year, which was just like a pilot race, and it went well, so we decided to do it again,” said Smith. “We’re approved also for next year, so we’ll see; we’d love to make it an annual event.”


The race consisted of 30 boats from five New England clubs comprising Maine Coast Rowing, Megunticook Rowing, Portland Rowing, Club Zulu and Lewiston Rowing. Race results are expected to be posted Monday on the Lewiston Rowing website, lewistonrowing.com.

As the race ended, stage hands prepared for the line-up of performers amid the row of food trucks and wide corral for Roopers Beer Garden. A cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” by duo Humble Strings, played for spectators scattered across the park.

“We came for the festivities (after the race) and got to say hi to the mayor,” said Dana Truman of Bridgton, who came with his son, Franklin.

“Riverfest and the regatta are a perfect way to kick off the summer in Lewiston,” said Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline. “Simard-Payne is absolutely the best river park in the state, and I’m looking forward to the full slate of events we have planned for the summer.”

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