A PowerPoint presentation by Scott Andrews titled “Inventing Vacationland” will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, at 7 Lakes Alliance Center, Main Street, Belgrade Lakes Village.

The program, hosted by the Belgrade Historical Society, will share the history of tourism, outdoor recreation and the arts in Maine from 1820-present, according to a news release from the historical society.

Maine has officially advertised itself as Vacationland since 1916. Before then it was touted as The Nation’s Playground and Sportsmen’s Paradise. Today the business of tourism and recreation plays host to more than 36 million visitors who spend more than $6 billion each year, by far Maine’s biggest industry, according to the release.

Maine has been a preeminent destination for rusticators, tourists, vacationers and recreational and arts enthusiasts of all stripes and seasons for nearly two centuries.

How did Maine become a vacation mecca? What were the milestones? Who were the key actors? What did they do and where did they do it? That is the subject of Inventing vacationland, the presentation.

Andrews is a longtime journalist with a lifetime connection to various facets of Maine’s vacation and tourism industry.

The talk will begin with pioneer tourists such as Henry David Thoreau and artists of the Hudson River School. The principal focus will be in the development of transportation, accommodations and activities in the period following the Civil War and continue to the present. The creation of Maine’s major parks and preserves will also be a major topic.

Andrews has been involved in the Maine tourism industry since his teenage years, when he worked at his family’s campground in Oxford County. A longtime journalist, he has written many hundreds of articles on recreation, the arts and the industry of tourism for a variety of local and national publications, according to the release.

Admission is free, though donations for preserving and renovating the 1815 Meeting House are welcome.

For more information, visit belgradehistoricalsociety.org.

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