Cape Elizabeth 250th celebration marches into high gear

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CAPE ELIZABETH — After celebrating Cape Elizabeth’s 250th anniversary at Family Fun Day last weekend, the town is now focusing on its next “birthday” event.

A Night at the Light, scheduled July 25, will be a Portland Symphony Orchestra concert at Fort Williams Park. Although it will celebrate the town’s past, all the proceeds will go toward the park’s future.

“There’s a lot of buzz,” Barbara Powers, chairwoman of the 250th anniversary committee, said. “Everyone I’ve talked to is planning to go.”

The concert will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. on the lawn next to Portland Head Light. Powers said attendees should bring their own chairs and blankets, as well as food, although there will be food vendors, too.

Half of the 3,000 tickets for the concert have been sold and Powers said she is confident it will sell out. Tickets for adults are $20, seniors and students ages 13-20 are $15, children ages 2-10 are $10, and children under 2 years old are free.

“We tried very hard to keep this an economically family friendly event,” Fort Williams Park Foundation President Bob Ayotte said.

VIP tickets are also available: “250 Circle” tickets are $250, and Beacon Host Committee tickets are $500. The prices help offset the price for general admission tickets, and help raise more money. VIP guests will have access to a pre-concert cocktail party and priority seating at the concert.

Powers said she’s excited about how the event will bring together not only Cape Elizabeth residents, but people from throughout greater Portland. She said she hopes having it the same week as the annual TD Beach to Beacon 10K road race, which is also sponsored by TD Bank, will bring more attention to the concert and to the history of the town.

“A Night at the Light will celebrate the 250th anniversary of our town, but more importantly, it will bring the community together once again for an evening of world-class music set in the unparalleled beauty of Fort Williams Park,” Powers said.

Powers and Ayotte said they hope the proceeds of the concert will be used to further increase the beauty of the park. Ayotte and the Fort Williams Park Foundation have been working on a children’s garden for three years.

“The success of the concert is so important because the proceeds will go to the garden,” Ayotte said.

The 1.5-acre garden will be near the park’s tennis courts, in what Ayotte called “an underutilized” part of the park. The garden will feature a “small, diverse woodland” with various birds, a meadow of wildflowers, a stream flowing into an existing pond, willow tunnels, and a picnic area.

“It’s not a playground. This will be a place that will have lots of natural places for (children) to play,” Ayotte said. “The real intent here is to provide children with a place to be outside and learn more about nature.”

Ayotte said $400,000 is needed to build the garden and the hope is that the concert will bring in about $25,000. He said he hopes construction will begin next spring and be finished later in 2016.

He also said he’s glad the anniversary concert is celebrating the town’s history, while looking to the future.

“It’s nice not only that (the concert) is at the park, but the money is reinvested into the park,” he said.

Powers agreed.

“Anything we can do to raise money to sustain the park and its improvements is important to the community,” she said.

Concert tickets are available on the town website and on an Eventbrite page.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Sidebar Elements

The Cape Elizabeth Family Fun Day parade gets off to a rollicking start on Shore Road June 13, in celebration of the town’s 250th anniversary. 

Barbara Powers, chairwoman of the Cape Elizabeth 250th anniversary committee, left, and Bob Ayotte, Fort Williams Park Foundation president, on the Fort Williams lawn where a July 25 Portland Symphony Orchestra concern will celebrate the anniversary and provide funds for a children’s garden at the park.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.