Lewiston owes a lot to the Androscoggin River. It developed as a community because of the river - for the Indigenous Peoples, then the farmers, then the brick makers, and then the shoe and textile mills. Now, we celebrate the Androscoggin River as a waterway.
Thanks to the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, RiverFest has become
Lewiston's newest community event. Held at Simard-Payne Memorial Park, the two day event kicks off (literally) with a kickball tournament, beer garden, and live music. Saturday is the Regatta and rowing races, with clubs participating from across New England.
There are also food trucks and a shop local market, where I had the pleasure of spending the morning with Courtney of Quiet City Books.
Note to the side of my display, her ingenious "blind date books." Wrapped in plain brown paper with a one or two line description of what's inside, you select a book without any way to judge the cover, description, etc. For book nerds like me, this is a delicious surprise.
I also loved the interactive art project at the Maine MILL booth.
The final woven piece will hang in their new location along the edge of this very park.
Standing in the beautiful Simard-Payne Memorial Park, watching
crews on the docks and gliding along the Androscoggin River, I could hear the voices of our critics. Lewiston has this reputation of being "the dirty Lew" and sitting on the banks of a river polluted by the mills. And sure, when I was a young person growing up here, I never imagined we would use this river for recreation. RiverFest is Lewiston's way of shouting back at its critics, "Look again. Just look what we've done here." As a writer, I love a surprise ending. Especially when the underdog becomes the hero.