AUGUSTA — The Kennebec Valley YMCA’s planned 100th birthday bash Friday night came together, perhaps fittingly, the same way lots of things come together at the gym — with the support of volunteers and the community.
The local YMCA will mark its 100th year in Augusta with a free barbecue and birthday party, capped off with a fireworks display high above the grounds of the building on Union Street, at the back of Capitol Park.
“This community has stepped up in a big way to make this event possible,” said Harry Lanphear, chairman of the committee that planned the birthday bash, as well as a board member and a former chief executive officer of the Kennebec Valley YMCA. “With food, tents, and all these activities, it’s not a cheap event, and it’s entirely funded by folks and businesses in this community. People understand 100 years is an important event and they’ve been working hard for it.”
A wide range of kids and family-friendly events, including a bounce house, a photo booth, games including kickball, police and fire department equipment displays, a Maine State Police dog demonstration and raffles will take place during the event, which starts at 5 p.m. and is expected to go until past 9 p.m., when the festivities will be topped off with a fireworks display by Central Maine Pyrotechnics.
“It’s jam-packed with lots of fun,” said Erika Bush, membership and marketing director for the local YMCA.
A free barbecue meal will be available from 5 to 7 p.m. to the first 500 attendees. There will be a beer tent on-site.
And, of course, being a birthday party, there will be birthday cake. And ice cream from the Darling’s ice cream truck.
The event will also be an awards ceremony, with recognitions of the YMCA director, volunteer, and employee of the year.
City officials and local state legislators will read proclamations and legislative sentiments.
“This 100-year anniversary is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come out and celebrate an organization that has supported its community and that, in turn, its community has supported,” said Jac Arbour, vice president of the board of directors of the YMCA.
The Kennebec Valley YMCA was chartered June 13, 1914, at the corner of State and Winthrop streets. The gym was housed in that building until 2006, which the Y moved to Capitol Park. The landmark building was torn down in 2011 when a buyer couldn’t be found.
The $10 million YMCA on Union Street features two pools, a large gym, fitness room, workout studio, library, children’s area and meeting space.
The Kennebec Valley YMCA also has an exercise center on Granite Hill Road in Manchester.
Keith Edwards – 621-5647