Darkside of the Sun: A real festival of okay ideas

Mike Corrigan

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan
BN Columnist
I see where Governor LePage is using his overwhelming mandate of 48% of those Mainers who bothered to vote last November, to advance yet another trickle-up plan. He wants to grow the sales tax, an idea which will surely jack up the cost of living for people who already can’t afford a car, or sometimes even a bus ticket, or lunch, and send daily costs down for those who can afford to buy an entire bus line, plus a restaurant chain.
Despite this minor flaw — who cares about the working poor anymore? — Republicans? Democrats? anybody? — the governor has floated some intriguing ideas. And Maine’s tax mix should be looked at. Also, he and the Legislature have already cut current disability payments for Mainers by 20%, so clearly their hearts are in the right place. (Surgically attached to their wallets.)
Entirely missing from all the recent hot-and-heavy economic theorizing, however, is recognition of the creativity of Maine’s current tourism industry. Yes, everybody knows about the Yarmouth Clam Festival and the Rockland Lobster Festival, and the Four on the Fourth and such, but several promising new celebrations and festivals have sprung up across Maine in recent years. Maybe some of them can be models for bringing greater prosperity to your town, to tide you over until the new Congress sends all of the living-wage jobs to Asia and you will be forced to declare bankruptcy.
Consider these innovative events. And mark your calendars now for…
The Second Annual Central Lakes Snowmobile Festival, April 27-29. Recognizing that there’s a decent chance that Maine south of Presque Isle will never again be snow-covered for more than a quarter of an hour straight, the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce has established this “early summer” celebration, which includes driving snowmobiles into a lake to see how long they will stay afloat, or not, and running the snow machines over cliffs and using unpaid property tax bills to “parachute” them into piles of rocks below. All by itself, this festival promises to alleviate Maine's glutted used snowmobile market. Plus, people like seeing things crash. So it's win-win.
The Fifth Annual Mattagash Children's Festival, June 23-27. Popular events include the Child Toss, the Northern Maine Hunger Games and Whack-An-Infant. The event culminates in a Grand Auction, during which any surviving child is sold to the highest bidder. “The local school budget has dropped every year since we started this event,” said Festival Organizer Grinchley Weedbach. “Taxpayers are very happy. At this rate there could be no need for schools at all in northern Maine by 2018-19.”
The Beasley Island Tourist Hunt, August 28 (Rain date: the next time it rains). Gullible tourists are sent out into a driving snowstorm on a Salt Water Scavenger Hunt, and shortly thereafter, 20 local hunters fan out across the island with water-fowling guns and waders. To the victors go the spoils. And may the best man win.
The Old Orchard Beach Winter Festival, New Year’s Day Weekend, 2016. Bathing Beauty Contest, Sandcastle Extravaganza, Tanning Booths, Two-Mile Ocean Swim. Concludes with the annual Setting the Pier Alight Bonfire, through which insurance money is raised to fund the next Winter Festival.
Slowly inching up in the world, Mike Corrigan writes to us from Westbrook.

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