Runners get an enthusiastic start at the 25th annual Moxie Fest 5K in Lisbon in 2021. The popular road race was one of only two events hosted by The Moxie Festival that year. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

The annual Lisbon Moxie Festival is returning this year after getting canceled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The three-day festival will be held from Friday, July 8 to Sunday, July 10. The events will include the traditional Moxie Parade, fireworks show, 5K road race, a car show and Moxie chugging event.

“I think the biggest thing is the amount of enthusiasm with our volunteers, sponsors, and staff because we haven’t been able to do anything with a parade and vendors or concerts for the last two years, and that has been felt around the community,” Parks and Recreation Director Mark Stevens said. “People love the Moxie festival.”

Stevens said the biggest challenge this year would be the closure of Main Street due to construction work, which will lead to re-routing the parade.

“Usually, the parade will go right at Maine Street, and people gather there to watch it, but this year we will re-route the parade, and it will start at Capitol Avenue and go straight down 196 up to Crafts cars,” said Stevens. “The vendors are usually spread out all down Main Street but will  put them at a different location this year.”

Nearly 50 vendors are expected this year to gather at the MTM Community Center.


The festival typically draws about 30,000 people from across New England region.

Stevens said this year, the event is expected to cost $34,000. They have not finalized a list of sponsors yet.

Unlike previous years, the car show will be held at Beaver’s Park to make more room for people to spread out safely.

The Moxie Festival, held in honor of the unusual-tasting soda, started 40 years ago after replacing Frontier Days.

Last year, the traditional festival was replaced with small community events that did not include the traditional Moxie parade and chugging event, due to the COVID pandemic. The festival was canceled in 2020, also because of the pandemic.

This year, Stevens said they would keep their ears open to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 guidelines and make decisions, but are still moving forward with the festival’s return.


“I think the Moxie committee is doing a great job in ensuring that we can get the Moxie parade back and be able to host the events for the community safely,” said Interim Town Manager and Police Chief Ryan McGee. “They are weighing all the factors and getting the community excited about looking forward to having this event.”

“The festival has to happen at some level,” said Town Council Chairperson Fern Larochelle. “We are going to try to make things as normal as possible, but we are not sure what the new normal is. Hopefully, we can do some outside activities and maybe spread them out a little bit more, so people feel comfortable participating.”

According to the U.S. CDC guidance on gatherings, people are less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 during outdoor activities, even without the use of masks. However, it is recommended to avoid crowded places where it is not possible to stay 6 feet away from others.

As of Feb. 5, 18,232 Androscoggin residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 197 people have died as of Saturday, according to the Maine CDC.

“I think what we have learned about this whole pandemic thing is that you have to adjust as you move forward,” said Larochelle. “I think everything has to be addressed as we go, but the plan now is to try to organize and set up a festival that we can try to promote.”

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