One of the Maine towns whose population doubles during the summer months is Winthrop. It’s located at the center of the Winthrop Lakes Region, where there are more than three dozen lakes and ponds.

The population swells each year as part-time residents return to their seasonal camps. The area offers a variety of fishing, boating, hiking, cycling and camping opportunities.

While in the area, tourists often check out Cobbossee Lighthouse located on Lake Cobbosseecontee in Winthrop. The lighthouse is referred to as “Ladies Delight” because it’s built on a large section of jagged reef with that name. It’s the only Maine lighthouse located on fresh water. The lighthouse can be viewed by boat.

Another favorite tourist attraction in the region is Mt. Pisgah, the highest land point in Kennebec County. On a clear day, it’s possible to see Mt. Washington in New Hampshire located many miles away. Many have enjoyed hiking and blueberry picking along the trail for many years. Besides enjoying natural attractions, various groups within the town have planned activities during summer months.

Kennebec Land Trust stewardship director Jean-Luc Theriault is seen with summer interns on Mt. Pisgah in Winthrop on Aug. 1, 2017. Kennebec Journal file photo by Andy Molloy

Friends of Cobbossee Watershed
The Friends of Cobbossee Watershed offer a series of interactive, hands-on, fun activities this summer to teach youth and adults of all ages about watershed protection and water quality. A spokesperson for the group said that this year’s activities are sponsored by Kennebec Savings Bank, Augusta Fuel Company, Modern Woodmen of America and Clark Marine. A total of 29 separate sessions will include these at Norcross Point on Maranacook Lake in Winthrop.

Tadpole Patrol with the Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed includes five levels of programs for youth in grades 2-12 and adults of all ages aboard OTTER II, the Friends’ 22-foot pontoon boat floating classroom. Tadpole Patrol for children entering grades 2-3-4. Participants will be introduced to lake ecology through exploration, observing wildlife and learning the basics of water testing with professional equipment. Each child will earn a Tadpole Patrol badge, t-shirt and prize grab bag. Each session can accommodate up to ten children.

Tadpole Patrol II LSI! (Lake Science Investigators) is for kids entering grades 4-5-6. Building on the fundamentals covered in Tadpole Patrol, participants in this group will be placed in the role of “science investigator” as they observe the lake ecosystem, conduct water quality tests and record their data in their own keepsake journal. Binoculars will help kids identify species living above the water, while an underwater camera will be used to ‘spy’ on aquatic life living beneath the surface. Participants will also begin to learn about identifying native and non-native plant species. Each participant will receive a waterproof knapsack and LSI Journal, and each session can accommodate up to eight kids.

Tadpole Patrol 3 (Jr. Lake Monitors) is for youth entering grades 6 and up. It’s designed for youth who have previously experienced Tadpole Patrol I and II (although not required). TP3 participants are educated in proper water quality data measurement techniques and conduct precise measurements themselves, then analyze and compare their results against data recorded by the Cobbossee Watershed District over the past 30-plus years. Results will be posted on the Friends website for others to observe with an option for each Jr. Monitor to have their data be recognized. Participants will receive a certificate of achievement and each session can accommodate up to eight young adults.

Family Tadpole Patrol is a Tadpole Patrol experience for the whole family. During an hour and half long excursion, this group will be engaged in observing wildlife above and below the water, learning and sharing information about the human and natural history of the lake and using water monitoring equipment. It can be a fun experience for parents or grandparents and children to participate in together. Each session can accommodate up to 10 people.

Spotter’s Amphibious Adventure is a class in which participants will cruise aboard the OTTER II to a private island in the middle of the lake. Participants will explore, learn about the importance of riparian areas for wildlife, learn about the benefits of preserving wild spaces, and learn the basics of the “Leave No Trace” method of enjoying nature. Offered on Cobbossee and Annabessacook Lake, this adventure is open to children ages eight and up.

For more information see watershedfriends.com. The Friends will also accommodate private group sessions, such as scout troops or homeschoolers or birthday parties aboard the Otter II.

Bailey Library 
Bailey Library in Winthrop also offers a number of programs each summer free and open to the public.

Some of the activities planned this year include a summer space launch party, a science show for kids with Mad Science, a lecture series exploring the libraries of U.S. Presidents, exploring earth and space for kids with LC Bates, tiny tales story hour with Ms. Stacy and a genealogy group with Bob Pelletier.

Mr. Drew and His Animals Too will entertain, also a tie-dye event with Ms. Cindy, a nocturnal nature event for kids, an astronaut eats space food party, a summer reading and ice cream party, a stars & steam hands-on learning activity, a book group with Shane Billings and a lecture series about the first woman to solo through- paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

For more information regarding these and other activities offered by Bailey Library this summer, contact Director Richard Fortin at (207) 370-1071.

Bailey Library in Winthrop offers a number of programs for adults and children during the summer. Their Mad Science Event for children last summer involved a combination of exploration and discovery based around our summer reading theme. Photo by Richard Fortin

Fourth of July events
Fourth of July fireworks are one of the three major events the Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber organizes and sponsors annually.

The fireworks display takes place at dusk on picturesque Norcross Point at the southern end of Maranacook Lake. The executive director of the Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, Barbara Walsh, said the display usually draws several hundred people. Hundreds of boaters also watch the spectacular show from Maranacook Lake.

“The 4th of July fireworks show is one of Winthrop’s time-honored traditions enjoyed by young and old alike,” said Walsh. “The first rain date for the fireworks will be July 5th. If conditions do not
permit that date, we will host the fireworks on August 17, following our 32nd annual Winthrop Sidewalk Art Festival.”

People listen from boats in Marancook Lake as Kristen Veayo, pictured on guitar, plays at Norcross Point in Winthrop on June 29, 2014. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

According to Walsh, the Winthrop Rotary will host a July 4th barbecue before the fireworks. She said they will serve ribs, cornbread and coleslaw dinners between 5 and 8 p.m. Cost is $10 per person. There will also be a wood-fired pizza food truck there. For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at (207) 377-8020.

Earlier in the day on the 4th of July, there will be a 5K race sponsored by Friends of Cobbossee Watershed. This will be the 17th annual event for this large 5K race. It’s open to all runners, joggers, and walkers. After a loop through downtown Winthrop, the majority of the course follows the beautiful eastern shore of Maranacook Lake. All proceeds go towards the conservation of the Cobbossee Watershed. The race will begin at 8 a.m. at the American Legion Hall located at 117 Bowdoin St. in Winthrop. Registration ends July 3, 2019 at noon.

More details regarding the 5K race can be found at runsignup.com.

Free Concerts
Free concerts will be presented every Sunday 2-4 p.m. at the head of Maranacook Lake in Winthrop off Bowdoin Street. The concerts will be held July 7-August 25. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the music.

Sidewalk Art Festival
Plans for Winthrop’s 32nd Sidewalk Art Festival are underway. Painters, potters, photographers, jewelry makers, fabric artists, basket weavers and fine craftsmen will descend on downtown
for the Festival on Saturday, Aug. 17, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications from artists and crafters. Visit winthropchamber.org, call 207-377-8020 or email [email protected] The early registration discount for applications received before June 15 is $50; after June 15, $60. The final deadline for registration is Aug. 1.

Last year, the festival included live music and food from local restaurants and drew hundreds of people. Ribbons and prizes will be given for Best in Show, Best Artist and Best Crafter.

Walsh said that this year the Chamber hopes to add several new artists, increase community involvement and offer a variety of entertainment and refreshments. She said some young artists will be part of the festival this year.

People walk past the Windows on Winthrop mural during the Sidewalk Art Festival in downtown Winthrop on Aug. 18, 2018. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

“Our local schools have students with extraordinary talent and we’d like to showcase their work this year,” Walsh said.

In conjunction with the festival, the library will host the popular L.C. Bates kids program “Naturalist as Artist” at 10:30 a.m. in the King Event Room, lower level of the library. The program explores natural objects through the eyes of a scientist and those who attend will learn tricks of drawing those objects. The library will also host the annual Summer Reading Party at 1 p.m. with games, crafts and refreshments. The festival continues throughout the day with music, guided tours, luncheons and barbecues.

Winthrop YMCA
The Winthrop Area YMCA, located at 29 Town Hall Lane, offers summer camps,classes and programs. Last year’s events included swimming lessons, tennis lessons, baseball camp, basketball camp, soccer camp, field hockey camp, track and field events, arts and crafts and cooking classes. For more information, visit winthropymca.org or call (207) 377-9686.

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