Maine Gov. Janet Mills will join members of the Maine Bicentennial Commission on Tuesday as she tours the state and launches the commemoration of Maine 200 – the celebration of  Maine’s 200th anniversary.

Mills will also be announcing that cities and towns can apply for a share of $375,000 in grant money to support local programs and events commemorating the bicentennial.

Mills will begin her day at the Sargent Family Community Center in Presque Isle at 8 a.m. Appearances are also planned in Bangor, Portland and Augusta. She will also announce programs and events planned for the celebration.

Mills is expected to arrive at Portland’s Deering Oaks park for a ceremony at 2:30 p.m. She will be joined by the Bicentennial Commission chairman, state Sen. Bill Diamond of Windham.

Bicentennial Kickoff Day coincides with the 200th anniversary of the vote to separate the District of Maine from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in July 1819. The vote to separate was overwhelming, with 17,091 voting in favor and 7,132 opposed. Maine officially became an independent state in March 1820.

“Maine has a proud and storied history, and our bicentennial offers us the opportunity not only to honor it, but to recommit ourselves to the values that shaped us as a state and as a people,” Mills said in a statement.


“Many dedicated people have been working diligently behind the scenes during the past year and a half to make this 200th anniversary celebration spectacular and fun for all,” Diamond said.

Bicentennial grants can be used to sponsor lectures, storytelling workshops, parades, fairs, festivals, history projects, curriculum development, student projects, concerts, performances and arts projects, to name a few options. Any Maine community nonprofit, state, city or local government, or school can apply for grant money.

Projects that reflect themes such as what it means to be a Mainer, what it is like to do business and work in Maine, and Maine’s leadership role in national affairs are encouraged. There are three grant application deadlines, with the first set for Sept. 1.


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