Topsham seeks input for year-long 250th celebration

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TOPSHAM — Although its 250th anniversary isn’t until 2014, the town is already gathering input and making plans for what is planned to be a year-long series of events.

Steve Edmondson and Mike Labee, co-chairs of the steering committee organizing the celebration, have been getting the word out. They hope Topsham residents, organizations, clubs and other groups wanting to sponsor or host events can start planning under the umbrella of that committee. Letters from the committee have also gone out to solicit input.

One event planned so far is a celebration at the Topsham Fairgrounds, to run from July 18-20, 2014. Topsham marked its 200th anniversary as an incorporated town in July 1964 with a similar three-day event, but “we really want to expand that and have a series of events all year long, honoring Topsham’s history,” Edmondson said.

Another event is a bonfire at the Fairgrounds Dec. 31, 2013, to kick off the next year’s festivities. Tours through cemeteries and historic homes are other possible activities throughout the year.

Those events are intended to highlight what the town offers in terms of activities and amenities such as the Androscoggin River and Head of Tide Park, celebrating the present as much as the past.

Edmondson, a history buff who has long genealogical roots in the area, noted that reaching the 250-year mark is “huge,” and that celebrating that milestone “can provide a little interest in the community, that people should have. And I’m hoping this builds on that.”

Although 2014 is still more than a year away, the steering committee had good reason to start meeting five months ago.

“We’ve talked to other people who’ve done similar things with other communities … and they’ve said, you can never start too soon,” Edmondson said last week, noting that a year’s worth of events will take a significant amount of planning.

People and groups with ideas or who would like to help out with the events can log onto topshammaine.com/250.

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

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Topsham is gearing up for its 250th birthday, as shown by the celebration’s logo.

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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.