Lisbon police Chief Ryan McGee cuts the ribbon Saturday afternoon to mark the start of the town’s Very Merry Main Street celebration. He is surrounded by town officials and business owners who are celebrating the recent reopening of Main Street after being closed for about a year. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Lisbon residents and visitors came out Saturday for the annual Very Merry Main Street celebration which kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony signifying the official reopening of the street. Folks enjoyed horse and carriage rides, the Christmas tree lighting, local businesses and eateries and Christmas stories at the library.

The stretch of road between Lisbon Street and the School Street and High Street intersection has been under construction for nearly a year with infrastructure from building foundations to building foundations on the opposite side of the street dug up completely to replace water, sewer and drainage lines layer by layer.

Lisbon’s Economic and Community Development Director Ross Cunningham gathered town council members and business leaders to join for a photo with Police Chief Ryan McGee who wielded the giant scissors. All agreed McGee should cut the ribbon for his hard work as interim town manager and interim assistant town manager throughout most of the project’s duration.

Children cuddle with a soft alpaca named Ms. Boo Boo on Saturday afternoon at Sippy Cup Consignment on Main Street in Lisbon. Businesses all along Main Street were celebrating the recent reopening of the street that has been undergoing major renovations for nearly a year. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“It’s a new energy down here,” Cunningham said over a beer at the Olive Pit Brewery. “We get to continue with the momentum Lisbon’s had for the last 30 years, a place of growth and activity and entertainment.”

2022 was supposed to be a year of rebirth after the pandemic, but it seems like most other towns got a chance to get back on their feet, said Cunningham. It was hard not having that experience, but everyone is hopeful to get back to normal and brace for strong summer and winter seasons next year, he said.

“It’s been a rough year for all of our businesses, but they’ve continued to succeed and that’s fantastic … The public’s been great, too – very supportive, trying to shop locally when they can and help support local businesses.”


While most towns “roll up the sidewalks” come the end of fall, Lisbon business owners are thrilled to have actual foot traffic just as the holidays are coming around. Eastcraeft’s Maggi Norzow said she is relieved to have a normal street again and excited to put sidewalk signs out and put up window decorations people can actually see. Olive Pit Brewery owner Christy Cain said foot traffic is beginning to extend into the evenings which helps immensely with the food and beverage businesses that thrive on the twilight.

Maximus Buckhalter of Belgrade photobombs a picture Saturday afternoon at Sippy Cup Consignment in Lisbon as Kendall Ingerson gets a candy cane from Santa during the town’s Very Merry Main Street celebration. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“I’m actually getting people now going, ‘oh, I was just driving by and saw you’,” said Cain. “That obviously wasn’t happening before at all. It’s definitely picking up.”

People are also leery about the reopening since the north part of Main Street will undergo construction. Cunningham said the second phase of the project will pick up on School Street and go all the way to the Lisbon/Bowdoin line. However, the work to come will not affect the businesses nearly as much as it did this year.

“We’re at a point now where we’re pretty much wrapped up, we’ve got a little cleanup to do on the upper half and then next spring we’ll start in earnest on the west of the project,” said Cunningham.

Kerry Conroy, owner of The Sausage Kitchen, said it has been equally as hard for business owners to regroup as it was to endure the project’s immense hit to Main Street’s businesses, especially knowing there is more work to come next year. The name of the game right now is picking up the pieces, moving forward and making the best of a difficult year, she said.

Linda Verney of Wood Field Farm in Alna drives her team of horses around the field where the former Worumbo Mill was located in Lisbon. They were giving rides Saturday as part of Lisbon’s Very Merry Main Street event that celebrated the mostly completed reconstruction of Main Street that has been closed to traffic for about a year. The street is back open but work will continue on upper Main Street this next year. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“We’ve been at it all day and we have not slowed down. Today has been a better day than it’s been for the last month combined,” Conroy said. “We’ve done Very Merry Maine Street since the very first one and I’m glad to have it back on Main Street and I’m glad everyone’s out and about and we’re just thanking everybody for being part of the community.”

Lisbon council Vice Chair Raymond Robishaw commended businesses for holding out until the end of the project as frustrating as it has been. They stayed upbeat, continued to make business in every way they could and exhibited the greatest character Lisbon has to offer.

Said Cain, “Come on down. Main Street’s open. We’ve got beer, good food, good retail. Come down and check us out.”

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