HALLOWELL — The city’s business community is hoping that a music and art festival in August will establish new connections with customers ahead of a looming reconstruction of Water Street.

The first Woodstock Revival and Art Walk is set for noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16. It’s being sponsored by the Hallowell Area Board of Trade, the local chamber of commerce, and will feature live music at the downtown bandstand inspired by the legendary 1969 rock and roll festival in New York and art vendors in Granite City Park and along Water Street.

The board of trade has been trying to take a more prominent role in Hallowell over the last year. President Chris Vallee kicked off a drive for new members in the second half of 2014, just after the city and the Maine Department of Transportation finalized a deal to rebuild the downtown portion of Water Street, a project that won’t happen until at least 2018 and should cost more than $3 million.

The work is needed because the main road through downtown Hallowell is crowned in the middle and slopes toward the sidewalk on the Kennebec River side, and utility officials have long wanted to replace old water and sewer lines beneath the pavement.

However, it has caused heartburn in the business community with business owners expressing concern that sales could plummet if the downtown is paralyzed for a summer. Ruth LaChance, the owner of Boynton’s Market and the board’s vice president, said the goal of the new festival is “to build camaraderie with the community and customers” ahead of that time.

Foot-long bandana flags are being sold for $2 at several downtown businesses and will line Water Street with personalized messages on the day of the show, with proceeds going to the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers in Waterville, which provides adoption services and support for pregnant and parenting teens.

Downtown restaurants and other businesses including a food truck will be open. The musical portion will be produced by Bob Colwell, a musician with a downtown recording studio, and acts will play alongside a house band.

“We really want it to be a family event. There’s no beer tents open or anything like that,” LaChance said. “We’re asking people to bring their blankets and chairs and spend the day in Hallowell on the river.”

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

[email protected]

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme


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