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Tradition continues with Central Maine Egg Festival

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Tradition continues with Central Maine Egg Festival (photo courtesy Central Maine Egg Festival)

Pittsfield plays host to 45th annual festival July 10-15

PITTSFIELD – There’s an eggs-cellent time to be had in Pittsfield this week. The Central Maine Egg Festival is taking place from July 10-15.

“I think it is huge for the community,” said festival president Steve Cianchette.

The egg festival includes the Kiwanis Karnival, which has been in existence for 60 to 70 years, according to Cianchette. He has been involved in the local Kiwanis for close to 30 years.

“[The Kiwanis Karnival] got to be more than the Kiwanis could handle and the egg festival was organized just to give it a boost and to keep the tradition going and to support the [egg] industry in the area,” said Cianchette.

There was a time when central Maine was the egg capital of the state.

“I worked in egg industry as a kid, as did many others,” Cianchette said.

The Kiwanis Karnival this year will feature Smokey Greatest Show for the first time starting on Wednesday the 12th.

This year’s festival theme is Musical “Egg’spression. Among the musicians is Briston Maroney, a top-30 finisher in the 2014 edition of “American Idol.” Maroney is the grandson of the local Kiwanis president. Maroney will perform on the evenings of July 13 and 14. Rock band The Resistance will also be performing, taking the stage on July 15.

The festival displays one of the world’s largest frying pans. The pan is 10 feet in diameter and weighs over 300 pounds. The pan has been a part of the festival since 1973.

“It’s not the world’s largest [anymore], but it was for many years,” said Cianchette.

Other highlights include airplane rides and the Egglympics for the kids on the morning of July 12. The Famous Big Parade will take place on July 15. Grand Marshalling this year's parade is the Pittsfield ARTS Club. ARTS stands for “Always Ready To Serve.” said Cianchette. The ARTS club is also in charge of the quiche and cheesecake contest.

The money for the non-profit organization is raised through fundraising and sponsorships.

“Every dollar raised goes right back in the community for this event as far as the Kiwanis goes,” said Cianchette. “Egg festival money goes to other events happening throughout the week. The Pittsfield area Kiwanis has been around longer than the egg festival and we have raised probably over a million dollars.”

The Kiwanis Karnival tradition in Pittsfield means a lot to Cianchette.

“As a kid, I can remember going to Main Street for the Kiwanis Karnival. We closed the center of town down and the rides and everything were set up in downtown back in the mid-60’s,” said Cianchette.  ‘“I can remember going down and winning an armload of glass hauling it home and going back for more. I would be proud as peacock because I took glass home for momma.”

The tradition has changed some, said Cianchette, but a lot is still the same.

“[There are] a lot of smiles and faces on young kids. If you grew up in Pittsfield some of your fondest memories as a kid are going to the Karnival in the summer. Times have changed; it is not the only thing happening these days. It has changed a lot, but we still have the same glass pitch that was used since I was a kid,” said Cianchette.

The festival kicks off on July 10th and ends with the fireworks on July 15 in Manson Park. For a complete list of events you can go to centralmaineeggfestival.org. 

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