Youth council throwing event 'Celebrating Lewiston'

·5 min read

Jun. 15—LEWISTON — The 10 graduating seniors on the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council this year wanted to do something special, especially after the last two years during a pandemic made event planning nearly impossible.

"This is our last hurrah, and we really want to leave our mark on Lewiston," council member Kiera Potvin said.

Summer Events

After two years of most events being canceled or postponed due to the pandemic, a slate of summer events is on tap for Lewiston and Auburn. Here are some highlights:

Celebrate the Androscoggin River during a two-day family-friendly event featuring a Regatta, kickball tournament, food trucks, an artisan fair, beer garden, and two nights of live local music.

World Refugee Day highlights Lewiston's diversity through multi-country flag presentation, food, music, and entertainment; 4:30 p.m. in Simard-Payne Memorial Park.

The 7th Annual Great Falls Brewfest will feature more than 50 breweries — cider and seltzer too — food, vendors, live music and more. It is a ticketed event in Simard-Payne Memorial Park.

Independence Day in Lewiston is celebrated well! Spectacular fireworks, food, music, entertainment, displays, vendors and more, in Veterans Memorial Park on Main Street.

So, for weeks, the youth council has been planning an event celebrating all things Lewiston, as well as its newest recreational area, Mike McGraw Park, at 280 Bartlett St.

The celebration Saturday, June 25, will feature a packed schedule of "offerings for all ages," according to a city news release this week.

Dottie Perham-Whitter, community relations coordinator and youth council adviser, said the youth council has been "diligently planning" the celebration to highlight music, art, history, businesses, career opportunities, recreational opportunities and more. The goal is to help educate people about what Lewiston has to offer, she said.

"This event involves youth and adults in what we do here," youth Councilor Hannah Arsenault said. "Sometimes people get in the habit of going to or being involved with the same things over and over, but this event can show what other things are available. They may be surprised as to what else they might like in Lewiston."

The list of activities confirmed so far — with the schedule still being finalized — is dizzying.

The 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. event will feature music from Josie French as well as drumming from former council member Damon DeWitt. It will feature Somali and Wabanaki history presentations; a "Why I Do Business in Lewiston" panel discussion and Q&A featuring Geiger, Forage, and Mother India; a Lewiston image "paint night" organized by artist Melanie Therrien of Wicked Illustrations; and an interactive offering from the Lewiston Public Library.

The St. Mary's Nutrition Center Good Food Mobile Bus and "mini farmers' market" will also be on site, as will Lewiston firefighters with Engine 7. There will be yoga offered by The Sanctuary, and the Lewiston Career Center will be on site from noon to 5 p.m.

The youth council has also put together an "I Love Lewiston" selfie backdrop, and a dunk tank will feature Lewiston High School Assistant Principal Doug Dumont and some teachers, compliments of Recovery Connections of Maine.

"It has been very exciting to watch LYAC members plan this event," Perham-Whittier said. "The creativity and energy at meetings is uplifting, and their teamwork is impressive. They clearly set the bar high as positive ambassadors for the city of Lewiston."

Youth Councilor Brea Mathieu hopes the event will "bring people together after a challenging two years."

"It will be good to show what happens here and to show that unity exists in Lewiston," she said.

The event will conclude with an announcement of a 10-year sponsor for the field at Mike McGraw Park. The council has selected a field sponsor after an application process, and the sponsor's name, as well as the name of the field will be announced during the event. The city held a ribbon cutting for the new field and winter sledding hill in February.

Mayor Carl Sheline, who will be on hand June 25, said the effort from the youth council has been inspiring, as is the fact that "these young people take pride in their city and want others to know that it's a vibrant place with many opportunities."

City Councilor Linda Scott, who serves as a liaison to the youth council, said, "The future of Lewiston are these bright, creative students who have shown on a daily basis their passion and commitment to celebrate our community and make it a better place for all that live here. I couldn't be more proud to stand beside them and promote all they do."

Leading up to the event, the youth council has also launched a Lewiston-themed scavenger hunt, a Google-based interactive hunt with 17 clues. According to the news release, those interested can read the clues, begin the hunt, and review the interactive submission process at lewistonmaine.gov/lewscavenger.

Visits to the locations can be uploaded over a period of time, but all answers and photos need to be uploaded and submitted in a single submission, the release states. All submissions will be part of a drawing at the June 25 event, with participants eligible to win a $100 Mother India gift card, a $50 Forage gift card, or a $50 Italian Bakery gift card.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit lewistonmaine.gov/lyac.