The 38th annual Sebago Days two-day festival kicks off Friday, July 15, and this year it is all about the cruise.
Last year, the first Sebago Days car cruise brought in “big money cars from all over,” said Carl Dolloff, president of the Sebago Days Committee. “It was a really good show, and the crowds loved it.” he said.
Buoyed by that success, the committee has decided to introduce a bike cruise, as well. They’re teaming up with the Naples American Legion Riders Chapter 155 bike group “to see how that flies,” said Dolloff.
But the two-day festival, held at the Sebago Days Grounds behind the elementary school at the junction of Route 114 and 11, involves more than just sweet rides. This year’s lineup includes musical entertainment, raffles, food and plenty of games.
While the car show is held Friday from 5-9 p.m., people of all ages can share their talent at the annual talent show. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m., and the show starts at 6 p.m. There are four age groups, and three performers from each age group will be awarded cash prizes. Following the talent show, the Wicked Good Band will play at 8 p.m.
The event continues on Saturday, starting with a 2-mile fun run. Registration for the informal race starts at 7 a.m. at the junction of Route 114 and 11, and the course continues for a mile down Route 11 before doubling back to the elementary school. The runners take their mark at 8 a.m. Pre-registration is available at Jordan’s Store, and the first 75 entrants to the race get a free T-shirt.
Those who aren’t tired of walking after the fun run can join the parade, which convenes at Jordan’s Store at 9 a.m. and starts marching up Route 114 at 10 a.m,, ending at the school grounds. Following the parade at the Sebago Day grounds, there will be music and other entertainment.
The bike show with the Naples bike group starts at 2 p.m. Also at 2 p.m., the Celtic Moose Band with Walt Bannon will play on the Sebago Days Grounds, followed by the Mainely Country Music Band at 5:30 p.m., and the Half Moon Jug Band at 8 p.m.
Free wagon rides will be offered by Stony Brook Acres from 5:30-8 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., the event wraps up with “the best fireworks around,” Dolloff said, which has been a slogan for the event for a number of years.
“A lot of people come to see our fireworks,” Dolloff said.
Denise Olsen, event organizer, agrees about the fireworks. They’re “by far the best around,” she said, because they are “so close and spectacular.”
Olsen is also the town’s Parks and Recreation Director and president of Friends of Sebago Elementary School, but said she is involved with Sebago Days “just as me.” She has been coming to the event “since I was a little kid,” she said, and it’s “a nice gathering place for the community. The kids all look forward to it.”
Throughout the day there will be vendors selling food and crafts, as well as family-friendly games and activities. An activity new to this year’s event is “Knockerball,” also known as bubble soccer. The game involves the players sticking their torso and head into a large, inflatable ball, which allows them to bounce off the ground and each other.
More than 100 prizes will be raffled throughout the day, and proceeds from the tickets will benefit the Sebago Days Committee.
The top prizes include a canoe donated by Don Moore of Bear Creek Canoe, a TV donated by Jordan’s Store, a digital camera donated by Kurt Christensen of Custom Built Homes Inc., and two picnic tables (awarded separately) from George Anderson and Sons Excavating.
Dolloff said a crucial piece of pulling off the festival is the “good support from area businesses, inside and outside the town.” This year, the committee has made plaques to give to area businesses “in recognition of their generosity over a number of years to Sebago Days,” Dolloff said.
Festival-goers in 2015 line up to watch the parade, which was rained on. In early May the committee announced the theme of this year’s parade will be “Summer and Sebago” and that there would be no rain.