WATERVILLE — It might have been hot under the noonday sun Wednesday, but that did not stop hundreds of people from heading to the banks of the Kennebec River to eat, socialize and listen to music as part of the annual Taste of Waterville.

They bought French fries, tacos, wraps, chicken baskets, pizza and other treats, and gathered at large, round tables in the parking lot — or better still at tables set up in the shade of trees — as they listened to live music.

The event, organized by the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, extended well into the evening, with meals provided by area restaurants and music from bands, including Motor Booty Affair and Downeast Brass.

Randy DuBois mans the Gouda Boys food truck Wednesday at the Taste of Waterville at Head of Falls. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

A new offering this year was a cornhole tournament, according to Shawn Michaud, who has been chairman of the Taste of Waterville for nine years and been involved for 20.

“We’ve literally got teams signing up from Delaware, Vermont, Massachusetts,” Michaud said.

The chamber decided to have a cornhole tournament to draw new people to Taste from outside Maine, he said. First prize was $1,000.


About an hour after the Taste opened, Michaud said all was going well.

“We’re just so fortunate,” he said. “We have so many great volunteers. The Parks & Recreation Department is just phenomenal. They’re wonderful and those guys have just been rock stars.”

Vendors sold jewelry, homemade soaps, jams, fudge, soft pretzels, potholders, kitchen towels, table runners, candles and multicolored drink tumblers.

Cornhole teams compete late into the evening at the Taste of Waterville at Head of Falls on Wednesday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Riff Johnson of Pittsfield was playing guitar and singing the 1958 rock song “Johnny B. Goode” under a blue tent near the railroad tracks at the south end of the parking lot where a breeze wafted through.

“We just got here and the poutine at Pinky’s Poutine Factory is the real deal,” said Johnson, who was selling his CD, “Reinvention.”

He said he had been traveling around the country, performing in places such as Seattle and Nashville, Tennessee.


Deputy Chief Bill Bonney of the Waterville Police Department, who was strolling the parking lot, said he had just had lunch from 207 Foodies.

“I had a chicken basket — it was delicious,” he said.

Bonney estimated hundreds of people were already at the event just after noon.

“They are excited to get out after COVID really shut things down,” Bonney said, “and I’m happy to be back out engaging with the public. I think everybody’s just happy to be here.”

Firefighters also roamed the grounds, ready to help if needed.

People wait in line for drinks at the Taste of Waterville at Head of Falls on Wednesday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Chamber volunteers directed people to various areas of Taste, wiped off tables, emptied trash cans and shuttled visitors in golf carts from downtown.

A beer and wine garden was set up. Michaud said he expected 8,000 to 10,000 people would attend a music event Wednesday that was scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m.

The Taste of Waterville, he said, requires about nine months of planning, with much support from businesses.

“I love the event,” Michaud said. “I love watching people seeing somebody they haven’t seen for years, and the smile on their face, and running up and giving them a hug. I love that. That’s what keeps me coming back to it every year.”

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