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Poland Spring foots bicentennial bill

Poland Spring water announced it is giving $100,000 to help pay for the Bicentennial events including the Maine State Bicentennial Parade.

MAINE, USA — One of Maine’s best-known brands is giving a big check to help Maine’s Bicentennial.

At the birthplace of the company, Poland Spring water announced it is giving $100,000 to help pay for the Bicentennial events. Half of that is targeted for the Maine State Bicentennial Parade, set for May 16 in Lewiston and Auburn. Heather Printup of Poland Sprung says helping the bicentennial observance was a natural choice for the company, which began selling water in 1845.

“The state of Maine was only 25 years old when Poland spring was established,” she said. Next year will be our 175th anniversary at the same time Maine celebrates its bicentennial. So what better way to celebrate that than by celebrating the bicentennial parade?

The parade will be one of the major events of the year for the Bicentennial Commission, and chairman Sen. Bill Diamond says the funding will help.

“I think the contribution from Poland Spring will make this a truly spectacular event…It just makes a world of difference,” Diamond said.

They also announced a plan to make some noise at the parade, by organizing what they hope will be a very big band. The organizers are looking to recruit people from all over Maine, “ages 13 to 90”, who can play band instruments and want to be part of the Bicentennial Marching Band.

Veteran bandleader John Neal helped the idea get going, and will direct the band.

“Drummers, (players of) any band instrument, marching band instrument, people in a color guard who understand that. We’re looking for high school drum majors to help us out. If this band is as big as I hope we’re gonna need help all around that band keeping them together as we go.”

Neal says he hopes those who used to play or currently play will all be interested. The Maine 200 website has information on how to sign up, and Neal says it also has sheet music for two marching band pieces players should practice. In the coming months, he plans to have regional practice sessions, then bring all the players together the day before the parade for a big practice session.

“This is part of Maine celebrating 200 years,” Neal said. “Let’s make every Mainer who can be part of this.”

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