Topsham plans New Year's Eve party to launch year-long celebration of 250th birthday

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TOPSHAM — The town is planning year-long celebrations for its 250th birthday in 2014, starting with a New Year’s Eve bash.

A steering committee is finalizing details of the Dec. 31 celebration, Steve Edmondson, who co-chairs the committee with Mike Labbe, said Wednesday. The event will be held at the Topsham Fairgrounds, with a bonfire, refreshments, and “either wagon rides or sleigh rides, depending on what’s on the ground,” Labbe said.

“It’s just something … different on New Year’s Eve,” he explained. “If we can get some corporate sponsorship, we’re going to have fireworks.”

Other events are being planned, too. One that Edmondson has taken on personally is a Celtic festival in May, celebrating Topsham’s Scottish-Irish history, a heritage that he shares.

The event will take place at the Orion Performing Arts Center at Mt. Ararat Middle School, and feature Irish fiddlers, Scottish dancers, and the Maine Public Safety Pipe & Drum Corps. The Squid Jiggers, an Irish folk duo, will be the main act.

“They’re just really, really good; they have a following,” Edmondson said. “It’s going to be a good time.”

A core event is planned at the Fairgrounds for a July weekend, similar to Topsham’s three-day celebration in July 1964 of its 200th anniversary as an incorporated town.

“We’re recruiting people to come forward and participate, and even plan and organize activities,” Edmondson said.

For instance, the town’s historical society will host a series of lectures throughout the year at the Topsham Public Library, Edmondson said.

Planning will continue to be fluid the rest of this year and into 2014, as events are finalized. The steering committee wants residents, organizations, clubs and other groups that want to host or sponsor events to start planning under the umbrella of the committee, which will ultimately promote all of the events.

The committee meets again at the Topsham Public Safety Building at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11. Log onto its Facebook page, “Topsham, Maine 250th Celebration,” and its website,, to find out more, get in touch with the committee, share ideas or help out with the year’s events.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.