READFIELD — After being offered in a scaled-back version last year, the long-running Readfield Heritage Days is making a full return Aug. 13 through 15, including fireworks, a concert featuring a nearly 200-year-old organ and poutine.

Event Director Dennis Price, who also serves as chairperson of the town Select Board, said last year’s event included only a fireworks show due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We realized it was very convenient and pandemic-friendly to have fireworks, rather than completely canceling the whole thing,” Price said. “We were glad to be able to do at least that much.”

Festivities this year are scheduled to kick off with a wine and cheese social at the Readfield Historical Society from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13.

Saturday, Aug. 14, is packed with events from 7 a.m. to 9:15 p.m., kicking off with a breakfast from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. hosted by the Masons at the Masonic Hall on Main Street.

From 9 a.m. and throughout the day, local historian Dale Potter-Clark is set to unveil signs throughout the community that detail the history of specific areas.

At 9 a.m., a sign is scheduled to be unveiled at the library. Signs are also to be unveiled at the Union Meeting House at 10 a.m., the fairgrounds lot at 11 a.m. and during a pulling stone oxen demonstration, also at the fairgrounds, at 11:30 a.m.

Also on Saturday, the fire station is scheduled to host a library book sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the library to host an event for the book “Percy’s Patience,” about the story of Gov. Percival Baxter and Baxter State Park, featuring a signing with author Barbara Bourgoine and illustrator Jemelie Bessette.

From noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Pinky D’s poutine truck will serve poutine — French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds — on the beach, while a food composting demonstration and a “Maker’s Market,” featuring crafts and demonstrations from local residents and vendors takes place. Games, including cornhole and ladder toss, will also be held on the beach from noon to 4 p.m., as the band Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs plays funk covers and originals from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The music will continue at the Union Meeting House with an organ concert from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Price said the organ to be used at the concert was at the meeting house when built in 1827.

While adults browse in the background, Julia Henderson reads her book during the Readfield Community Library book sale in August 2015, during Readfield Heritage Days. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

“It’s quite a part of Readfield history,” Price said, adding there are plans to rebuild the meeting house and make it a space for concerts.

The Masonic lodge is also celebrating its long relationship with Readfield. Part of the community for a century, the lodge was rebuilt after lightning struck a barrel of kerosene in the town’s masonic block, where the lodge and Readfield Market now stand, on June 11, 1921. This led to a fire that destroyed the lodge and several businesses.

After the organ concert, the meeting house is scheduled to host a pie sale at 4 p.m. The beach will then close at 5 p.m. as organizers prepare for the 9:15 p.m. fireworks display.

On Sunday, the movie “The Sandlot” will be shown at dusk at the fairgrounds ball field.

While last year’s event was scaled back to include only fireworks, Price said this will be the fourth consecutive year the town has celebrated Heritage Days, a change that began in 2019.

“Before I got onto the Select Board, it was actually held every other year, which for an event is a death knell because people forget about it,” he said, “So we managed to get it back every year.”

Price said while he could not say how long the event has taken place, he estimated the town has been celebrating Heritage Days for “over 100 years.”

The event is organized by about two dozen people, members of different organizations or town departments.

“The (Heritage Days) committee is sort of a ragtag bunch,” Price said. “It’s a loose conglomeration of different organizations in town that produce their own events under the auspice of Heritage Days. Basically, we get together, someone will ask of anything is going on at 3 p.m., for example, and we’ll say ‘yes’ or ‘no.'”

He said there are about 10 organizations in Readfield working together to make the event happen.

“It takes a lot of folks to bring this together,” Price said, “and we’ll have three days to celebrate a great place to live.”

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