Carmel residents to celebrate community at ‘Carmel Days’ festival
By Jodi Hersey
Special to The Weekly
Since the 1800s, the small town of Carmel has embarked on a big celebration it calls Carmel Days. The event showcasing the little village located on Route 2 between Hermon and Etna will be held Friday, Sept. 29- Saturday, Sept. 30.
Over the years, Carmel Days has expanded from a one-day event into a two-day celebration that includes everything from a parade, face painting and bounce houses for the kids to live music, a craft fair and barbeque for the adults.
Kevin Howell, the town manager, said it all started as a free festival for the community.
“We’re a small town and we’re proud of our little village,” said Howell. “This is a way to show off the village.”
Organizers decided to move Carmel Days from the middle of August to the last weekend in September this year in hopes of attracting more people.
“Having it be the last weekend in September, there are no competing festivals and the temperatures are better. All the bands and organizations are back together, schools are back in session, and we feel we’ll get a much better turnout for the event,” explained Howell.
A lot of the festivities at Carmel Days are free however some do have a small fee.
This year’s theme is the ‘70s’, and the students at the Carmel Elementary School will kick off the celebration Friday, Sept. 29 with their own mini parade and concert.
“The pre-k through fifth graders, that’s a little over 200 children, will be marching. They’ll have tie-dyed shirts and banners and do a little loop through Church Street and Safety Lane, which is where the town office is. We’ll have stands set up there for seating. Then they’ll sing a few songs, and one of the children will do a proclamation to open Carmel Days,” explained Howell.
Then folks are invited to bring their own lawn chair or blanket to the recreational field to watch the movie Sing which will be playing at 7 p.m. Friday night.
On Saturday, Sept. 30, residents and guests alike are invited back into town for the morning parade at 10 a.m., followed by numerous events at the recreational field including a demonstration by an equestrian drill team from Stepping Stones Farm at 11:30 a.m. and Moose Maine-iah Monster Truck rides from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. for $6 per person.
Visitors are also welcome to stop into the Carmel Historical Society to learn a little bit more about the town’s history including its connection to the infamous Brady Gang.
“There’s going to be a speaker, Richard Shaw, talking about the Brady Gang at 2 p.m. The gang stayed at the top of the hill in Carmel where there used to be a camp and restaurant area, the night before the shoot out [in Bangor],” said Howell.
Several organizations and vendors, like the Carmel Masonic Lodge, will also be on hand selling food throughout the event.
“It’s a time to bring the community together but also a time for some organizations to earn a little money,” said David Richardson of the Carmel Masonic Lodge. “The library will have pies and coffee for sale, and we’ll be selling hot dogs and homemade French fries.”
Organizers and volunteers are excited to celebrate the joys of small town living, home cooking and community values with their neighbors, friends and visitors just passing through.
“I live and work here and am very proud of Carmel,” said Howell. “I’ve tried to bring the community together to work as one and have all these organizations give back to the community by putting their best foot forward to help out and show off their town. Hopefully people will come out and see what’s going on in town.”