The little town that ‘can sure pull off a parade’: Thorndike celebrates bicentennial

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 4:45pm

THORNDIKE — Known by its residents as a town divided over some municipal issues, its people came together, Saturday, Sept. 14, to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime occasion: Thorndike’s Bicentennial. 

In February 1819, landowners officially incorporated the area they’d been settled upon since 1772. Two hundred years later, residents of the town of 890 people (2010 census), lined the streets for a morning parade, followed by lunch options that included a chicken barbecue, Amish fries and pastries. The afternoon featured multiple bands.

“We’re a little town, but we can sure pull off a parade,” said Patty Pendergast, one of the committee members who’d helped bring the celebration to completion. 

The bicentennial committee became active in the spring of this year, planning the activities and shifting around last-minute alterations in order to achieve a seamless flow of events.

On that committee was Bea Bryant, of Bryant Stoveworks. 

Bryant’s husband, Joe, died a year ago, according to Pendergast. In his absence, and carrying on a family legacy for welcoming people to the area, Bea continued that notion via the celebration planning.

She lived long enough to witness the final bicentennial fundraiser, and died two days later, on Aug. 30.

“She was active with the committee up until the day she died,” said Pendergast.

Though residents remain at odds over municipal business, including the spending rights of the fire department, only fun broke the spell of a crisp, gray Saturday morning. 

Dedicated to adding something positive and noteworthy into Thorndike’s history books, Jeff Trafton, chair of the committee and sheriff of Waldo County, and his wife, Wendy, put their hearts into the event, according to Pendergast.

“To see a contentious town come together, it’s exciting that we were able to pull all of this together the way we did,” she said.

 

Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com