Some festivals have better slogan opportunities than most.

Like the annual Central Maine Egg Festival in Pittsfield. If you were trying to attract folks, you could call it “egg-citing” and “eggs-actly the kind of festival Maine needs.”

Or you could say there are “dozens” of reasons to come and that good times are “waiting to hatch.”

You could. Or you could just list an attraction like a 10-foot-diameter frying pan, a quiche and cheesecake contest, an “egglympics” contest of egg-related races and stunts, and a parade.

That’s basically what the Central Maine Egg Festival organizers have been doing for 40 years.

And it works.

They attract about 35,000 people for their five-day festival, located in a picturesque town between Waterville and Bangor. They do, however, refer to the festival as an eggstravaganza on the town of Pittsfield website. So that helps, too.

Not to mention the fact that this year, the Texas Flying Legends will fly their World War II fighters and a bomber into Pittsfield on the Saturday of the festival.

This year’s festival runs Tuesday through the following Saturday, July 21, with dozens of events. There’s a street dance, art show and historical displays. There are the Egglympics for kids featuring a five-egg relay race, an egg toss, a rubber chicken throw, a squirt gun fight and other similarly wacky competitions.

There’s a kid’s parade and kid’s carnival, a quiche and cheesecake contest, another parade, a sack race, a costume contest, a window painting contest, musical performances and fireworks.

Basically, what started out as a celebration of the area’s egg farm industry has grown into a celebration of small-town life.

In a big way.

Steve McCarron, president of the festival, thinks it’s survived all these years because the main mission was never to just tout the egg. It was “to provide a venue where small central Maine nonprofit groups can have a successful annual fundraiser,” he said.

So although the festival idea was “hatched” as a way to celebrate eggs, today the egg connection is just gravy, so to speak.

But the egg focus did provide the festival with its most unusual historic artifact — the giant frying pan, which was made specially for the festival in 1973.

The frying pan weighs 300 pounds, was made by Alcoa Aluminum, and coated with Teflon by DuPont. At one time, it had a special gas burner placed under it to heat it up, but now it’s just for looks, because wear and tear has rendered it sort of unappetizing. The pan is so big, it has to be stored with heavy construction equipment at Cianbro in Pittsfield.

But the festival itself can’t be contained.

Even if the egg industry in central Maine isn’t what it once was, community spirit certainly is.

Crack that in your pan and fry it.

Ray Routhier — 791-6454

[email protected]

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