Bridgton revives its history to celebrate its 250th

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BRIDGTON — In the summer of 1768, a group of Boston businessmen contracted Benjamin Kimball to captain a boat from the North Shore of Massachusetts to Long Lake, which was at the time part of that state’s wild North Woods. Laden with building materials, provisions, sundries and beer, Kimball and his crew planted a flag on the shore and set out about constructing a mill, a mercantile and a tavern, thus settling what would become the town of Bridgton.

Bridgton will celebrate its 250 years with Bridgton’s 250th Birthday Bash, a series of events, including a boat processional, parade and time capsule reveal Wednesday, July 4 and Saturday, July 7.

July 4

The celebration kicks off with Four on the 4th, is a long-standing road race held on the Fourth of July. The popular event draws 2,000 entrants every year. The course features a fast start and then challenges runners with a tough uphill section before a downhill/flat last mile of the course. It begins and ends downtown. The race starts at 8 a.m., with registration beginning at 6 a.m., and is certified by USA Track & Field.

At noon on July 4, the Birthday Bash Parade will be held downtown.

July 7

Events will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A re-enactment/boat processional at Shorey Park on Highland Lake as participants festoon their boats with patriotic decorations.

Following the boat processional,  docents from Narramissic and the Bridgton
Historical Society, dressed in period garb, will lead a Historical Stroll down Main
Street, pointing out noteworthy buildings, as revelers parade with them in costume.

A number of events will follow on the grounds of the Community Center on Depot
Street, featuring live music from Bold Relief; food vendors serving barbecue, tacos and burgers; demonstrations from artisans and craftspeople: and activities for children.

The Historical Society will open a time capsule from the 200th birthday event in 1968.

A cake decorating contest will culminate in free birthday cake for everyone.  Open to all, the contest will have “celebrity” judges and prizes for best design and most delicious. Grand prize is a $250 gift certificate for a catered party. Cakes should be entered by 11: 30 a.m. and judging will take place at 2 p.m.

The day will be capped of with fireworks at dusk.