Hallowell has survived floods and fires. Old Hallowell Day has gone on despite scorching heat on some occasions, rain and wind on others. So a $4.5M downtown construction project is no big deal. Hallowell, arguably Maine’s smallest city and also one that knows how to throw the best parties, will host its biggest celebration again this year. As usual it will be centered around the third Saturday in July, despite the work-in-progress reconstruction of Water Street that began three months ago. Built into that planning from the start was a three-week construction “ceasefire” that is currently under way.

Some work will continue, but away from the main thoroughfare during this time. Water Street will be fully open but remain one-way (northbound traffic) from Temple to Winthrop Street, with southbound traffic following the established detour along Second Street. Extra parking has been made available, signage is in place to direct motorists as needed, and details and updates on progress, detours and traffic patterns are readily available – you can even sign up for email alerts at

​Says Old Hallowell Day chair, and volunteer, Jane Orbeton: “Please be attentive to the new traffic pattern while we complete infrastructure work and repaving of Water Street and some smaller streets.  The roads are well marked, but people should pay close attention. And don’t forget – there is now parking available in the area above and behind Camden National Bank and along the railroad tracks between Winthrop and Central Streets.”

The necessary construction is being strategically orchestrated so that all downtown businesses can remain open and accessible throughout the project, according to the DOT. If you’ve ever parked in downtown Hallowell only to scrape the lower edge of your vehicle’s curbside door or had passengers struggle to get in or out, you’re sure to appreciate the improvements. The sidewalks are being widened, leveled and paved with new bricks for smooth footing year round.


Despite the construction, rest assured that virtually all of your favorite OHD events will take place – with a few modifications, and even some fun additions. For example, the OHD 5K Road Race route for 2018 will consist of an alternative out-and-back course, with both the start and the finish line near Vaughan Field, at the north end of Middle Street. If you’re a spectator, take note! Participants will follow the length of Middle Street, then proceed out Litchfield Road to a turnaround point near the intersection with Smith Road, before enjoying a primarily downhill return route. Full details and registration can be found online at
Another switch-up is the Old Hallowell Day traditional bake-off contest, which has become famous as an opportunity for local bakers to show off their best homemade pies, or cupcakes or even whoopie pies once a year. This time around, to salute the long awaited removal of the crown in the road, the bakeoff guidelines are “anything goes, sweet or savory, as long as it’s flat.” Just think of the possibilities.

And this year will be no exception, the Old Hallowell Day parade will go on! As part of the master plan, construction crews have diligently prepared the road surface along Hallowell’s Water Street in order to safely and smoothly accommodate parade floats and marching units on the 21st. See for details, and to register. Detailed instructions will be sent to registrants, who will check in as usual north of the railroad overpass, and proceed in the parade lineup south along Water Street through downtown Hallowell to the official end of the parade route, at Maple Street.

Be sure to stop by and say hi to the friendly volunteers staffing the booths this year near the foot of Central Street. As usual, there will be the Old Hallowell Day information booth, where you can check on event times and locations as well as buy OHD poster prints, T shirts and buttons. But this year, you will also find a ‘Down with the Crown’ booth where you can learn more about the project, and support community volunteers’ marketing efforts on behalf of our downtown merchants and businesses throughout the challenging construction period. Now is your chance to purchase a limited edition salvaged vintage sidewalk brick, either plain or emblazoned with the Down with the Crown logo; or a souvenir ‘Down with the Crown’ T shirt to commemorate this unique era in Hallowell history. Details will be available on the Painting The Street community event that has now been confirmed for the weekend after Old Hallowell Day, July 28th and 29th.
And nearby will be “Age Friendly Hallowell” volunteers, a group focused on assessing and enhancing Hallowell’s ongoing efforts to make our community “the way life should be“for citizens and visitors alike, of all ages. Activities and social events geared for all ages, along with accessible outdoor spaces and buildings, volunteer opportunities, affordable housing and communications have also been cited as qualities that make Hallowell age-friendly. Learn more and check out the bicycle-powered

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