August 19, 2019

River festival idea stirs excitement

BUCKSPORT — In these days of fiscal restraint, news that the feds have freed funds toward a river festival has made quite an impression.

As proposed by Peter Steenstra of the Craig Brook Fish Hatchery in Orland, the river resources festival is intended, in part, to satisfy the goals and objectives of the U.S. Fish and Wildflife Service Stewardship Program.

At its meeting Monday, the Bucksport Economic Development Committee expressed serious interest in making the festival a reality. Orland naturalist Cheri Philips Domina has been hired to coordinate.

According to Jeffrey Kobrock, Bucksport economic development director, USF&WS has provided a grant for Philips Domina to work part time from mid-March through mid-September coordinating the event. According to Steenstra’s proposal, the festival would celebrate the natural resources of the Penobscot River and its watershed.

While it is unclear where the festival would be held, Steenstra has spoken to Kobrock regarding the idea. The more the economic development committee discussed the festival proposal Monday, the more it warmed to the idea of providing some form of major support, particulary if the event might come to be associated with Bucksport.

Rockland and Winter Harbor have their lobster festivals, said committee chairwoman Lisa Whitney. It would be nice to link Bucksport with a river festival, she said.

Stating the desire to have one of the committees she serves on actually do something tangible, Laura Bittinger suggested the panel lend its support to helping Steenstra pursue his plans. “That’s concrete economic development, having a great successful event,” she said.

Committee member Jack Corrigan warned his colleagues that what the federal government funds this year, it may abandon the next.

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