Friday, July 25, 2008

Waterville wraps up another successful MIFF

I’ve been meaning to get this post up all week, but things have been hectic, so here I am, wrapping up work on a Friday afternoon, and I’m just getting a chance to send a “shout out” to the good folks in Waterville. For the eleventh year, the Kennebec County city has hosted one of Maine’s only local film festivals.

Each year, I’ve wanted to attend, but the busyness of summer, as well as the 50+ mile drive, and the fact that my hometown, Lisbon Falls, has the Moxie Festival, which corresponds with the launch of MIFF in Waterville, has kept me from experiencing one of Maine’s seasonal gems. This summer, despite feeling a bit harried from launching a book at Moxie the previous Saturday, my wife and I made the trek to Waterville. We were glad we did.

Not only was the movie, Skills Like This, a hilarious treat, but this was the first time I’d attended an event at the historic Waterville Opera House.

We thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and afterwards, we headed across Main Street, to the Midnight Blues Club, for some adult beverages, and some tasty blues outside, on the patio.

My wife, who works in greater-Portland, Maine’s cultural Mecca, was impressed by the vitality of downtown Waterville. I’m sure others from outside the area have had similar experiences, being pleasantly surprised by the great vibe that the downtown area has.

Unbeknownst to us, earlier in the day, the area had hosted its 39th annual Intown Arts Festival.

I wanted to give kudos to Shannon Haines, for her efforts with Waterville Main Street. The Main Street Maine program, an initiative promoted by the Maine Development Foundation, has been instrumental in revitalizing downtowns across the state, including Waterville’s. Directors, like Ms. Haines, bring energy, and passion for historic downtowns that were once the lifeblood of communities across the state, and I believe, will once again be focal points, and economic drivers of the state's prosperity.

From my own experiences, I see Waterville headed in the right direction, and appears to be on the cusp of bigger and better things.

Here are some tangible ways you can support the development and revitalization of downtowns in Maine, and elsewhere.

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