SKOWHEGAN — The Board of Selectmen has named Main Street Skowhegan a recipient of a Spirit of America award.

The Spirit of America Foundation, based in Augusta, is a public charity established in 1990 to honor volunteerism.

The award is presented by municipalities to local individuals, organizations or projects. This year, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Feb. 11 to present the award to Main Street Skowhegan.

“(The award) is to show your appreciation for volunteerism, and I know there are quite a bit of volunteer hours that go into a lot of what Main Street Skowhegan does,” Town Manager Christine Almand said. “That’s why this award is such a good fit.”

Kristina Cannon, executive director of Main Street Skowhegan, said almost all of the events hosted by the organization are run by volunteers. These events include Somerset SnowFest, Maple Festival, River Fest and Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival.

The organization also hosted a Whoville Stroll in December, at which The Grinch was brought to life. Cannon said several volunteers put in close to 100 hours to make the event come to life.

“They’re so enthusiastic,” Cannon said. “We have a ton of volunteers who are really jazzed about moving Skowhegan forward. We didn’t realize how much it was going to take off and we’re trying to figure out what it will look like for next year.”

Added Almand: “It was really nice to see the amount of people that showed up (to the Whoville Stroll). Everybody did so good and everybody had fun.”

Cannon said Main Street Skowhegan works continuously to provide free programming to the community, recognizing that accessibility can be an issue for some families.

Main Street Skowhegan’s next event is Somerset Snowfest, planned for Feb. 28 to March 1, which is done in concert with Lake George Regional Park. Activities include an ice fishing derby, dogsled rides, a winter triathalon, an ice bar and a skijoring competition.

“Our goal is to get our local communities outside and engaged and active with nature,” Cannon said.

Receiving the award, Cannon says, is exciting for the organization, which has a 14-member volunteer board that spends many hours steering and helping Main Street Skowhegan.

“We’re honored to have been selected for this award,” Cannon said. “We could not do the work that we do without volunteers.”

Main Street Skowhegan is also planning the Run of River Whitewater Recreation project, which will bring economic, cultural and recreational advantages to the town.

Almand and Cannon said they have visited three whitewater communities to observe and learn more about the benefits of having these whitewater parks in communities.

As of last week, Cannon said Main Street Skowhegan and town officials were working with the architect to finalize the design, which will include adjustable surf waves and kayak holes.

The next steps in the project include meetings with permitting agencies to discuss the possibility of constructing an adjustable wave feature, updating a preliminary design report, submitting permitting applications, raising funds and and applying for grants.


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